Download: John Cage and Domenico Scarlatti's Piano Sonatas
Tuesday, February 09, 2016
On paper John Cage and Domenico Scarlatti—the experimental American composer and the late-Baroque keyboard maverick—make for an odd juxtaposition. But where some might hear contrast in the sonatas of this unlikely couple, pianist David Greilsammer hears complement.
This episode of LPR Live features the Israeli virtuoso live in performance of four sonatas, two each by Cage and Scarlatti. These performances are extracted from a larger recital by Greilsammer at (Le) Poisson Rouge that mirrors his 2014 Sony Classical release, “Scarlatti : Cage”.
The most jarring feature of these pieces is that their sound worlds are completely different, something that Greilsammer exploits in performance by swiveling quickly between two pianos: one for Scarlatti, a traditional, unadulterated instrument; the other for Cage, which is prepared with nuts, bolts, plastic, and rubber according to specifications by the composer. Greilsammer discusses this peculiar treatment of the piano, the unlikely similarities between these two composers, and their shared reverence of folk music. He’s joined “from the archives” by Cage himself, who philosophizes on the nature of music and the power of listening to nothing at all.
This episode features Dominico Scarlatti's A-minor Piano Sonata K.175, A-Major Piano Sonata K.492, and John Cage's Cage Prepared Piano Sonatas 5 & 12 performed by David Greilsammer on pianos, with interviews from pianist David Greilsammer, and archival WNYC interviews from composer John Cage. This concert was recorded live at at Le Poisson Rouge in New York City on May 27, 2014. Listen to the complete show here.
John Cage’s Sonatas for Prepared Piano were featured by permission of C.F. Peters Corp, all rights reserved.