In October 1962 John Cage and his great interpreter/co-visionary David Tudor visited Japan, performing seven concerts and exposing listeners to new musical worlds. This legendary "John Cage Shock", as it was dubbed by the critic Hidekazu Yoshida, is the source of this series of releases. Recorded primarily at the Sogetsu Art Center in Tokyo on October 24, 1962 (with two performances from October 17 at Mido-Kaikan in Osaka), all recordings in this series are previously unreleased. A major historical trove, unearthed.
The performances on this tour featured Cage and Tudor with some noteworthy Japanese musicians playing pieces by Cage and a number of other composers. Volume 1 begins with Toru Takemitsu's "Corona for Pianists" (1962), played by Tudor and Yuji Takahashi, an indeterminate piece scored using transparencies, a sign of Cage's influence on younger Japanese composers of the era. Following this is "Duo for Violinist and Pianist" (1961) by Christian Wolff, written specifically for David Tudor and violinist Kenji Kobayashi. The final piece, a near-twenty-minute realization of "Variations II" (1961), is a rare example of the rougher side of Cage, work that presaged much of the live electronic music and noise of the following decades, an aspect of his oeuvre which is woefully under-represented on CD. Cage and Tudor, using well-amplified contact microphones on a piano, deliver an electrifying performance, alternating distorted stretches of harsh 60s reality with bountiful silences.
All tracks are previously unissued. Tribute to the John Cage centenary and the 50th anniversary for his first Japan tour. Many rare photos, Japanese and English liner notes including commentary by Toshi Ichiyanagi. Cardboard/gatefold paper sleeve + obi + liner.
1. Toru Takemitsu - Corona for Pianists (9:34)
Performer: David Tudor (pf) + Yuji Takahashi (pf)
2. Christian Wolff - Duo For Pianist & Violinist (12:09)
Performer: David Tudor (pf) + Kenji Kobayashi (vn)
3. John Cage - Variations II (19:16)
Performer: David Tudor (pf) + John Cage (pf)