Joshua Pierce, piano & prepared piano,
with Robert White, tenor & AFMM Ensemble
From the liner notes of Eric Salzman: “John Cage wrote for
keyboards throughout most of his life. Most famously, he
invented the so-called "prepared piano" but he also wrote for
unprepared piano in both traditional and untraditional ways.
His later piano works employ an almost ferocious complication
and virtuosity at the outer limits of performer possibility.
Earlier he used electronic extensions, chance and performer
collaboration in complex ways. His early keyboard music was
written for himself to play, much of it meant to "accompany"
modern dance performances. Cage's piano, prepared and
unprepared, was the orchestra for a whole genre of solo
dance performance by some of the greatest figures of
modern American dance.”
This recording of Four Walls grew out of live performances by
Joshua Pierce and dancer/choreographer Sin Cha Hong at
the Seoul NYMAX Festival and Anthology Film Archive's
Courthouse Theater in New York City on October 27 and 28,
1994, marking the work's fiftieth anniversary. Plans to extend
this album as a double CD came about as a result of Mr.
Pierce's brilliant and relevatory performance of the
composer's magnum opus: Sonatas and Interludes recorded
"live" at the Microthon Festival held at New York University on
May 23, 1999, marking his twenty-fifth anniversary of live
performances and his association with the music of John
Cage, and in particular, Sonatas and Interludes.
A very special feature of this summation of Pierce's work with
the piano music of John Cage, is the presence of two
compositions here recorded for the very first time: the
Prelude (Piano Sextet) for Six Instruments in A minor, from
1946 and the Three Early Songs, from 1933.
The 56-pages three languages booklet (english, italian and
french) including photographs, liner notes by Eric Salzman,
essay by Michele Porzio and extensive biographical notes of
the performers, completes this double CD edition.
This release represent a great occasion to approach, at the
highest level, the early piano masterpieces of the 20th
century most important and influential composer, uniquely
performed by one of he’s most dedicated and well known
One of a handful of brilliant and creative musicians of his
generation, Joshua Pierce's passion and sensitivity has earned
him a world-wide reputation as a prolific pianist who has
forged his own individual and unique style with a vast
repertoire of music spanning all eras of piano literature. His
technical mastery has afforded him the ability to move easily
from the concerti of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven, to the
big works of Brahms, Liszt, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, to the
provoking sounds of John Cage, Charles Ives, Ivan
Wyschnegradsky, Harry Partch, Teo Macero, Karlheinz
Stockhausen, La Monte Young, Toru Takemitsu, Swen
Sandstrom, Maurice Ohana, Ben Weber, Sofia Guibadulina and
1-16) Four Walls (1944) 52'25"
17) Primitive (1942) 04'17"
18) In the Name of the Holocaust (1942) 06'01"
19) Quest (1935) 01'01"
20) Our Spring Will Come (1948) 04'10"
21) Prelude (Piano Sextet) for Six Instruments (1946) 04'56"
22) Ophelia (1946) 05'16"
1-19) Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared Piano (1946-1948)
20-22) Three Early Songs (1933) 03'02"
23-24) Two Pieces for Piano (1946) 09'13"
25) Music for Marcel Duchamp (1947) 05'04"
26) Spontaneous Earth (1944) 01'36"
27-29) Three Easy Pieces for Piano (1933) 02'57"
30) The Unavailable Memory of (1944) 02'35"
31-32) Two Pieces for Piano (1935/rev.1974) 02'43"