John Cage – Branches (1976)

For John Cage, nature always provided an important source of inspiration. On a tour with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company in Arizona 1975, dancer Charles Moulton brought John Cage a dried cactus, placed it near his ear and plucked its spines. This inspired John Cage to use cacti as musical instruments in pieces like Child of Tree (1975) and Branches (1976).The instruments in Branches are plants, preferably cacti, which are touched, plucked and »played«. The resulting sounds are amplified with contact microphones. From the score, the performers create their respective instruments with the assistance of the Chinese I-Ching’s coin oracle. In doing so, they determine which and how many instruments are to be played and when a break should take place. One of the instruments should be a Mexican pod rattle, which is always to be played as the final of the 8-minute variations. The performance, directed by Peter Behrendsen, combines Branches with Inlets (1977). Water-filled conch shells of different sizes are tipped by performers in order to produce gurgling sounds. This does not always work, however. Cage speaks of a »contingency« as there is no causal relationship between cause (action) and effect (sound). [Source]

Ryoanji (1983)
Performer: Shigemori Mika, Takemura Nobukazu, Inagaki Takashi
(simultaneous play)

Branches (1976)
Performer: Nishijima Atsushi, Murai Keitetsu
(simultaneous play)

Inlets (1977)
Performer: Inagaki Takashi, Takemura Nobukazu, Nishijima Atsushi, Miyajima Saikou, Murai Keitetsu

John Cage 100th Anniversary Countdown Event 2009
Date: November 8 / 2009
Venue: Kyoto Art Center






Béla Bartók – Duke Bluebeard’s Castle (1911)

Béla Bartók’s vivid retelling of the ancient tale of Bluebeard and his unfortunate wives takes us into an altogether darker, more ambiguous world. This gripping music-drama – a masterpiece from 1911 – moves from dark to light and back again, the dread secrets behind the castle’s seven doors unforgettably revealed in Bartók’s music.

Béla Bartók (1881-1945)

Duke Bluebears’s Castle (A Kékszakállu Herceg Vára) (1911): Le Château de Barbe-Bleue – Herzog Blaubarts Burg.

Premiere in Budapest,on May, 1918.

Libretto: Béla Balázs

Bernhard Sönnerstedt, Bluebeard – Blaubart – Barbe-Bleue
Birgit Nilsson, Judith

Ferec Fricsay, conductor
Swedish Radio Orchestra

Live broadcast, February 10, 1953.



















Wolfgang Rihm – Sieben Passions-Texte for six voices (2001–06)

Sacred music is by no means at the centre of his creative output, and Wolfgang Rihm had actually intended to »take off his monastic habit«, as he himself recalls, when he completed the Deus Passus, his Passion works according to St. Luke which premiered in 2000. Yet things turned out very differently. Increasingly fascinated by a suggestion to compose several A cappella works for the Passion Week, he committed the Sieben Passions-Texte – Latin motets in the spirit of the past and in the knowledge of their irretrievability – to paper over the course of the following years. »Sing it as if it were old music«, Rihm had advised his commissioners from Singer Pur, »then it will be clear that this isn’t what it is at all«. Never before had the thin-skinned sound dreamer woven such a secretive tapestry of voices, ambiguous, phantasmagoric, forgotten between the eras, vulnerable and wounded at the same time. Music that makes one shudder. [Source]






















John Cale – American Psycho (2000)

The soundtrack album released for the film is your typical “various artists” selection. There are a few score excerpts, but they’re voiced over by the titular psycho killer, Christian Bale, who, though f-f-f-far better than many narrators, is still an obstruction to my goal, which is hearing the goddamn John Cale score.

A-and it’s a hell of a score. It’s a little mushy in the late middle, but starts with a bang and ends the same way. The spirit of Bernard Hermann is here (notably on “The Men’s Room”) – unique for a Cale soundtrack. The piano figure on “The Ritual,” while rather unimaginative, is haunting for what’s done with it. On “Packing for Paul” Cale recalls his theme for director Mary Harron’s earlier film I Shot Andy Warhol. There’s a lot of rhythmic tension throughout – unlike some of his more meandering soundtracks, this is mostly a frenetic and tense experience.

When it slows and calms down, though, the effect is powerful – on “The Office,” for instance, the eastern-European-feeling horns give the piece an off-kilter nature that’s simultaneously threatening and laughable, while the Ligeti influences on “The Second Time”/”The Bloodbath – The Chainsaw” are more effective for being isolated. The churning strings on “The Police” and “The Wrong Building” lose me out of the context of the film, but the Eastern European folk intro of “The Confession” grabs me again.

The most striking track of the score is “The Day Planner” – the weird vocals (by the Mediaeval Babes) are creepy and beautiful, and the sudden appearance of voice has an impressive transformative effect on the soundtrack, allowing for a transition into the drone and serenity of “The End.” “American Psycho (Reprise)” provides a smirking, sprightly, sinister finish to it all. [Source]

01. American Psycho (3:20)

02. The Ritual (2:23)

03. The Alley (0:49)

04. The Vagrant -The Beauty Shop (1:35)

05. Packing For Paul (1:00)

06. The Answering Machine (0:12)

07. The Hooker (0:29)

08. The Coathanger (0:18)

09. The Men’s Room (1:00)

10. The Office (0:44)

11. The Date (1:31)

12. The Restaurant (0:29)

13. The Second Time (0:54)

14. The Bloodbath-The Chainsaw (1:24)

15. The Stray Cat (0:50)

16. The Police (0:56)

17. The Wrong Building (1:04)

18. The Confession (0:51)

19. The Next Day (1:07)

20. The Redecorated Apartment (0:24)

21. The Desk (1:18)

22. The Day Planner (0:53)

23. The End (1:14)

24. American Psycho (reprise) (2:46)