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Latvian Radio Choir|John Cage: Choral Works

John Cage: Choral Works

Latvian Radio Choir, Sigvards Klava

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This album is a collection of recordings made in Riga between 2007 and 2020 by the stunning Latvian Radio Choir, conducted by Sigvards Kļava. Choral music isn’t something that comes to mind when you think of John Cage, who only strictly speaking left behind two compositions for such a formation. He persistent rejection of harmony within his music is a probable explanation for his lack of contribution to choral production.

Only Hymns and Variations (1979) and Four2 et Four6 (1990-92) are specifically written for choir, whilst the other pieces on this album are derived from pieces originally written for other formations. It was only at the age of 67 that Cage tried his hand at choral singing. Of course, he did so in an inventive manner, putting his own spin on traditional pieces by completely overhauling them. He didn’t hesitate to delete or extend certain notes. It was as if he sought to measure the distance between the eighteenth century he adopted as his model, and the sensibility of the late twentieth century. 

About ten years later, the American composer started composing his “numbered pieces” (the numbers referred to the number of performers). Cage leaves it up to the Latvian Radio Choir to choose the 12 sounds in the final work on the album, Four6. Using a bit of creative license, they juxtapose animal and nature sounds against a static sonic background, mimicking the flexible chronology originally intended by the composer. © François Hudry/Qobuz

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John Cage: Choral Works

Latvian Radio Choir

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Five (John Cage)

1
Five
00:05:07

John Cage, Composer - Sigvards Klava, Conductor, MainArtist - Latvian Radio Choir, Choir, MainArtist

(C) 2022 Ondine (P) 2022 Ondine

Hymns & Variations (John Cage)

2
Hymn A (After W. Billing's "Old North")
00:02:05

John Cage, Composer - Sigvards Klava, Conductor, MainArtist - Latvian Radio Choir, Choir, MainArtist

(C) 2022 Ondine (P) 2022 Ondine

3
Hymn B (After W. Billing's "Heath")
00:01:53

John Cage, Composer - Sigvards Klava, Conductor, MainArtist - Latvian Radio Choir, Choir, MainArtist

(C) 2022 Ondine (P) 2022 Ondine

4
Var. 1
00:01:55

John Cage, Composer - Sigvards Klava, Conductor, MainArtist - Latvian Radio Choir, Choir, MainArtist

(C) 2022 Ondine (P) 2022 Ondine

5
Var. 2
00:02:06

John Cage, Composer - Sigvards Klava, Conductor, MainArtist - Latvian Radio Choir, Choir, MainArtist

(C) 2022 Ondine (P) 2022 Ondine

6
Var. 3
00:02:05

John Cage, Composer - Sigvards Klava, Conductor, MainArtist - Latvian Radio Choir, Choir, MainArtist

(C) 2022 Ondine (P) 2022 Ondine

7
Var. 4
00:01:55

John Cage, Composer - Sigvards Klava, Conductor, MainArtist - Latvian Radio Choir, Choir, MainArtist

(C) 2022 Ondine (P) 2022 Ondine

8
Var. 5
00:02:05

John Cage, Composer - Sigvards Klava, Conductor, MainArtist - Latvian Radio Choir, Choir, MainArtist

(C) 2022 Ondine (P) 2022 Ondine

9
Var. 6
00:02:04

John Cage, Composer - Sigvards Klava, Conductor, MainArtist - Latvian Radio Choir, Choir, MainArtist

(C) 2022 Ondine (P) 2022 Ondine

10
Var. 7
00:01:55

John Cage, Composer - Sigvards Klava, Conductor, MainArtist - Latvian Radio Choir, Choir, MainArtist

(C) 2022 Ondine (P) 2022 Ondine

11
Var. 8
00:01:55

John Cage, Composer - Sigvards Klava, Conductor, MainArtist - Latvian Radio Choir, Choir, MainArtist

(C) 2022 Ondine (P) 2022 Ondine

12
Var. 9
00:01:55

John Cage, Composer - Sigvards Klava, Conductor, MainArtist - Latvian Radio Choir, Choir, MainArtist

(C) 2022 Ondine (P) 2022 Ondine

13
Var. 10
00:02:05

John Cage, Composer - Sigvards Klava, Conductor, MainArtist - Latvian Radio Choir, Choir, MainArtist

(C) 2022 Ondine (P) 2022 Ondine

Four2 (John Cage)

14
Four²
00:07:09

John Cage, Composer - Sigvards Klava, Conductor, MainArtist - Latvian Radio Choir, Choir, MainArtist

(C) 2022 Ondine (P) 2022 Ondine

Four6 (John Cage)

15
Four⁶
00:30:06

John Cage, Composer - Sigvards Klava, Conductor, MainArtist - Latvian Radio Choir, Choir, MainArtist

(C) 2022 Ondine (P) 2022 Ondine

Album Description

This album is a collection of recordings made in Riga between 2007 and 2020 by the stunning Latvian Radio Choir, conducted by Sigvards Kļava. Choral music isn’t something that comes to mind when you think of John Cage, who only strictly speaking left behind two compositions for such a formation. He persistent rejection of harmony within his music is a probable explanation for his lack of contribution to choral production.

Only Hymns and Variations (1979) and Four2 et Four6 (1990-92) are specifically written for choir, whilst the other pieces on this album are derived from pieces originally written for other formations. It was only at the age of 67 that Cage tried his hand at choral singing. Of course, he did so in an inventive manner, putting his own spin on traditional pieces by completely overhauling them. He didn’t hesitate to delete or extend certain notes. It was as if he sought to measure the distance between the eighteenth century he adopted as his model, and the sensibility of the late twentieth century. 

About ten years later, the American composer started composing his “numbered pieces” (the numbers referred to the number of performers). Cage leaves it up to the Latvian Radio Choir to choose the 12 sounds in the final work on the album, Four6. Using a bit of creative license, they juxtapose animal and nature sounds against a static sonic background, mimicking the flexible chronology originally intended by the composer. © François Hudry/Qobuz

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