I have some previous recordings by Giancarlo Simonacci - the Complete Music for Prepared Piano
which is very good, but whilst I enjoyed these recordings, I wasn't anything like as taken with them as I am by this current selection. Without the preparations you can really hear how sure-footed and clear Simonacci's technique is and, perhaps surprisingly, how much difference this makes to listening to Cage.
Cage, in his book Silence said 'The critic criticises himself.' He also recalled an anecdote regarding some musical entertainment that he'd laid on for a guest (Daisetz Suzuki?, I can't remember.) On one occasion the singing was good and his guest wore a beatific smile - on another occasion the singing was not so good and Cage was worried, but when he looked across at his guest, he saw the same beatific smile. Cage thought that if we can accept sounds as they are, rather than allowing our psychology to dictate premises for evaluation of quality (or genius of composition) then all the sound-world would be that much more interesting. I agree up to a point - Whilst I'm always up for re-assessing my critical faculties, I'm not willing to disregard them.
With all that said, listening to Cage is always quite different to listening to Bach, for example, but with these recordings, much of what I admire and gain from listening to a great Bach recital is also present here. Furthermore, the recording quality is very nice. I'm playing these recordings quite a lot - they are everything I've ever wanted from such music and I hope that more will follow. If you're new to Cage, I think that this would be a very good place to start.
The inclusion of Cage's 2 piano transcription of Satie's 'Socrate' and the piano and cello work 'Etudes Borealis' help to make this set a diverse wholly pleasurable listen.