I'm gonna go out on a limb here and try to review John Cage.
As one of my last Art/Design School projects, I decided that I was going to design a logo for John Cage. I had always had an interest in Cage but hardly an understanding, much less any background into his style of composition. I saw this project not only as way an excellent challenge as a designer, but also to force myself to learn more about John Cage. With a handful of text, information, I went out to find some musical works of Cage. I wasn't sure what to think, but Hebert Henck release was the one closest to my meeger price range. After listening to it while conducting my research, I can say that Henck captured the sound of Cage beautifully (or, at least in my mind based on my readings, that Cage would sound like).
Cage's compositions weren't just about music (i.e notes, signatures, etc.) but rather, how music occupies space. Cage's solo piano compositions often contain soft passages followed by sharp, held atonal accents which eventually seem to disapate into the air. It is through these techniques that Cage is capable of creating simple piano masterpieces like In A Landscape, or dramatic examples of musical frustration (Metamorphosis pieces were described by Shoenberg as Cage's musical knowledge "banging against a brick wall"). Despite its minor key sharpness and unsual melody, Cage's music is sublimely beautiful in my opinion. Its strangely evocative but yet subtle and not overbearing. And certainly is anything but boring. I would say these compositions (ranging between 1935 to 1948) certainly deserve, if not already to be classics.
While its hard for me to comment on the accuracy of Henck's preformance (though I heard he captures Cage's essence perfectly), I will say the engineering captures Henck's sound perfectly. The sound quality is crystal clear, and has a certain lonely piano room quality to it. If going simply by that, I would say that they certainly hit the mark in this catagory.
Cage is(was) a highly controversial figure in the classical music world. He would later begin testing the sounds of instruments, household objects, radios, and even silence itself. All of this can be hard to swallow for those unprepared or unknowning of what they could be getting themselves into. What makes Early Piano Music wonderful is its a great stepping stone in not only getting to know John Cage and his musical methods better (with a detailed description of his work in the liner notes), but a chance to expand your horizons with music in general. On this note, I highly recommend Early Piano Music.
So, how did I do?