I haven't heard preparations as good as this since John Tilbury's Sonatas and Interludes.
There's a bit too much rubato in Giancarlo Simonacci's Sonatas and Interludes for me but it's still a great performance.
One simply amazing thing is that it's complete, it's cheap and wonderfully presented, in performance and production. Even the playlist works, beginning with Bacchanale and ending with the Concerto for Prepared Piano.
There are compositions here many (most?) of us have read about but not heard.
I'm particularly excited about the recording of Amores which is extremely well done.
The piano didn't sound prepared to me - it sounded quite startled. Comes across as a series of exercises just to prove a point - which is proven after about four tracks. There are things worth hearing here - but not too often. Recording quality and playing satisfactory if a tad "in your face" - which on the more brittle percussive pieces can feel like assault... Much how the piano probably felt.
The nice thing about John Cage is that, unlike many avant garde and/or minimalist composers, John skillfully makes his material challenging but still MUSICAL. This is a good example. The tinkling toy pianos are, for example, a sound we can identify with, and we aren't jarred or shaken by John's original treatment of them in his work. This may not be his most groundbreaking material, but it's still a treat.
This is extraordinary music; it's for percussion (unpitched sounds) more than conventional piano. And none the worse, or less inventive, for it. The performances are slightly faster and more rhythmically agile than most of the others I've heard. The sound is excellent, close and clear.