on 30 October 2012
i bought this Brilliant Classics triple cd recently as a addition to my cd s of Cage's sonatas +preludes for prepared piano (by Boris Berman on naxos) . to cut to the chase the first cd of Cage solo piano works is the bes tof the 3 discs by some margin. Simonacci is very well recorded + the playing has plenty of elegance + insight. the suite for toy piano played here on normal grand is a missed opportunity for me - surely we need to hear the work in its original context ? i think the sly humour is lost using a grand surely ? however the solo piano works oncd 1 show Cage's progression from neo-classical to jazz to post-schoenberg to final true own voice in his post 1946 works. "dream","landscape","seven haiku" + "waiting" are the highlights for me.
beautiful, enigmatic, refelctive,largely still pieces.
cd 2 showcases Satie's work "(Cage was a big fan of Satie's impish humour apparently) which is suitably mercurial and is still growing on me. pleasant- hardly essential on first few listens. Cage's "cheap imitation" is the second work on cd 2 + is rather inconsequential here- played rather flatly by the Simonacci in a duo, + thus becomes a little dull. aybe that was Cage's intention ? cd 3 - has 3 different versions of the same work "etude boreales" played for solo piano, piano+cello + solo cello(the least appealing version - sounding stodgy in comparison) an interesting comparative idea but the same piece heard in succession loses its impact for me.
overall - a good but a slightly uneven collection of Cage piano based works (with Satie also) that is very well recorded but hardly indispensible. four stars, and very good value if nothing else.