The term "Easy Listening" is not necessarily the first thing associated with the composer John Cage, but this CD compiles many works that are indeed easy on the ear & are quite relaxing too. The only track that seems slightly out of place is "Souvenir" (here receiving its recording premiere) which is for Organ, whilst the others are all scored for Piano/Prepared Piano or Toy Piano. It is also the only track that outlasts its welcome at almost 12 mins & includes some rather alarming passages when it sounds as if the organist has sat down on the keyboard. Apart from that, it is a great CD, with some fascinating sounds emanating from the prepared piano - in "Bacchanale" Cage wished to produce the sounds of African Drumming and amazingly you can believe you are listening to drums rather than a piano with nuts and bolts between the strings! Whilst the music is fairly minimal (it IS Cage!) it is nothing less than enjoyable, with good performances from Drury & helpful sleeve notes explaining the origins of the Prepared Piano technique. Recommended.
The first thing that comes to mind about John Cage is the composition he wrote for piano entitled 4'33'' in which the pianist is instructed to do nothing for that duration of time. The result is that silence reigns. The second thing is that the composer had a special interest in the prepared piano and he coaxed strange, sometimes jangling sounds from the instrument. This CD of his early piano music is very different. It is approachable and enjoyable material, introspective in tone. Many modern day listeners will be familiar with the sound-world of Arvo Part, and when one listens to John Cage's 'In a Landscape' and 'Dream' both from 1948, one can sense that both composers share or shared a similar intense sense of spirituality. At the heart of these pieces is a feeling of flow, that is onwards and expanding, ultimately consoling and reflective. It is very much worth a listen to this set of pieces, even if only to dispel a view that 4'33'' was Cage's moment in time.