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."

These files are large because the pieces of music are long. Instead of just clicking on them to play them, it would be better to download them first and play them from your own computer. That would prevent the possibility of pauses (due to Internet congestion) during playback. To download each of these MP3 files, right-click its link and select "save link target as" (or whatever similar option your browser offers).

Bacchanale, 12 minutes, 11.2MB, play or download (right-click & save-as)

Ophelia, 9 minutes, 8.4MB, play or download (right-click & save-as)

Copyright © 2005 Michelle Chattaway