Album Review

Tudor, David – “David Tudor: Music For Piano ” – [Edition Rz]

cujo   9/16/2007   A Library, CD

They say history is written by the winners. Music history appears to be written by forces of personality. The post-war piano has seen no greater force than David Tudor.

Back in the 1950s, the course of the piano was in doubt. To go serial or
not? To go indeterminately or not? There were other compositional paths to
follow (music is boundless), with their own proponents and acolytes, but
have since fallen into obscurity. What happened? Pianist David Tudor
happened. So influential was he that composers stopped writing for piano,
and began instead writing ???for David Tudor???. Here Editions-RZ has culled German radio archives for 1950s/60s Tudor recordings of the choicest indeterminate works,
wherein the composers have given the perform free interpretive right within
some boundaries (often mathematical or graphical). John Cage is of course
extremely well represented with various sparse Musics For Piano (his major
aleatoric work that followed Music of Changes) and Variations II (hardcore
piano & electronics) and tickling his own sets of ivories. Popping up also
are Christian Wolff, Morton Feldman (in a piece for 4 pianos), and Sylvano
Bussotti. Tremendous documents worthy of release, I do wish they had found some more European representation.

Ironically, and probably inevitably, Tudor could only handle Cage???s ego-less indeterminant compositional paradigm for so long. His own ego got the better of him and he eventually abandoned performance for composition (and not as successfully, I might add).

In turn, I urge you to shed your egos and welcome your new indeterminate overlords.

–Cujo, KFJC, September 2006

you heard it 11 times on kfjc! most recently:
  • 4124 days ago, eveningly infinitely wipes played Christian Wolff: Duo For Pianists 1 (1957 Version 1)
  • 4711 days ago, Cousin Mary played John Cage: Winter Music (1957)
  • 5494 days ago, Anubis, God of Jackals played John Cage: Music For Piano 27, 21, 32, 36 (1955)
  • 5525 days ago, Mitch LeMay played John Cage: Music For Piano 27, 21, 32, 36 (1955)
  • 5525 days ago, Mitch LeMay played David Tudor O-Ton Im Interview Mit Mogens Andersen
CharlySJ says

Just want to thank you for writing about (and playing) this music. I listen to KFJC for my exploratory music fix, and I'd love to hear more "contemporary classical" music (to use a well-worn label -- I'm too lazy to think of anything more elegant). Janacek's two (and only) string quartets are also a blast.


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