Michelle Chattaway's "John Cage" Concert 2005
Bacchanale was John Cage's first composition for "prepared piano". He had previously written separate works for piano and for percussion; here he brought them together. From John Cage: An Autobiographical Statement: "I needed percussion instruments for music for a dance that had an African character by Syvilla Fort. But the theatre in which she was to dance had...only a small grand piano...I finally realised I had to change the piano. I did so by placing objects between the strings. The piano was transformed into a percussion orchestra having the loudness, say, of a harpsichord." Michelle prepared the piano for this performance in accordance with Cage's written instructions; the "objects" include loose screws, pieces of felt, etc.
Ophelia, written several years after Bacchanale, is dedicated to dancer Jean Erdman.
Reviewing this concert, the Victoria Times-Colonist said "Two pieces by John Cage -- Bacchanale for prepared piano and Ophelia for unprepared (if that is the word) piano -- were both played with considerable rhythmic vitality and élan by Michelle Chattaway."
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