Sixty years after Cage began composing his most extensive and ambitious compendium of indeterminate and graphic notations, the Concert for Piano and Orchestra remains something of a mystery. Often discussed and presented visually for its stunning array of unusual and elaborate notations, it is all too rarely performed, especially in a large ensemble version, as here, with conductor (acting as timepiece).
As a companion work to the Concert…, celebrated American composer Christian Wolff, close associate of Cage, has been commissioned to write a new work for Apartment House. The result, RESISTANCE, for pianist and ten or more instruments, is to be premiered July 1st in Leeds, and this is the second performance. Like Cage, however, Wolff celebrates performances as unique events, and the openness of his scores produces music which refuses repetition. Both works question the nature of ensemble, how musicians and sounds relate one to another, form and structure in ways that, like Wolff’s title, seem increasingly vital to contemporary life.
For over 20 years Apartment House has been captivating audiences with its performances of experimental and contemporary music. The group has performed all over Europe, from Oslo to Rome and from Barcelona to Vilnius, and is a firm feature on the British concert scene, with regular performances at Café Oto and a residency at the Wigmore Hall. Apartment House is the most frequently featured UK ensemble in the history of the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival and its John Cage portrait concert at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre, won the group a Royal Philharmonic Society Award for outstanding contribution to Chamber Music and Song.
John Cage – Concert for Piano and Orchestra
Christian Wolff – RESISTANCE
Philip Thomas / piano
Jack Sheen / conductor
Christian Wolff RESISTANCE commission by Apartment House funded by the Ernst von Siemens Foundation and the Hinrichsen Foundation.
Composition commission by Apartment House funded by Ernst Von Siemens Music Foundations and the Hinrichsen Foundation.
Thirty Three Thirty Three create exploratory and inventive arts and music events around the globe. Alongside their flagship series of London concerts St John Sessions, they have programmed events in London, Ghana, Beirut and Cairo. In 2016, they established Masåfåt in partnership with the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), an open-ended international platform fostering artistic and professional exchange between independent artists and arts professionals across the Arab world and the UK.