Album Review

Cage, John/Hiller, Lejaren/Johnston, Ben – “HPSCHD/String Quartet No. 2 ” – [Nonesuch Records]

Cousin Mary   1/11/2009   12-inch, A Library

HPSCHD was a collaboration between John Cage and Lejaren Hiller first performed in 1969 at U. of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Written for up to 51 electronic sound tapes and up to 7 harpsichords, in this recording all the tapes and 3 harpsichords are used. Included is a computer printout (1971 CDC-6400) for changing the 2 channels on volume, bass and treble levels so ???the home listener???s hi-fi set in intergral to the composition???. Beepy 70???s computer sounds and dueling harpsichords make for a surprisingly fun listen.

Ben Johnston???s String Quartet is rather gloomy and spare, but has moments of loveliness.

Exhaustive music theory detail for both pieces on sleeve.

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