I have been an admirer of John Cage's music for about 30 years and a fan of the Number pieces for some time. For some who might not know here's a tidbit from Wikipedia "The term Number Pieces refers to a body of late compositions by John Cage. Each piece is named after the number of performers involved: for instance, Seven is a piece for seven performers, One 9 (read "One Nine") is the ninth work for one performer, and 1O1 is a piece for an orchestra of 101 musicians. The vast majority of these works were composed using Cage's time bracket technique: the score consists of short fragments (frequently just one note, with or without dynamics) and indications, in minutes and seconds, of when the fragment should start and when it should end. Time brackets can be fixed (e.g. from 1.15 to 2.00) or flexible (e.g. from anywhere between 1.15 and 1.45, and to anywhere from 2.00 to 2.30).
All of the Number Pieces were composed during the last six years of Cage's life, 1987-1992. Most are for traditional instruments, with six exceptions that range from works for the Japanese aerophone shō and conch shells to an electronically amplified version of 4′33″. "
First off the recording quality of these recordings are pretty staggering, really just beautiful. You might want to watch the volume control on your system, these sounded like the players where in the room with me. The first 11 tracks are renditions of "Three" (1988) all three minutes in length and are really quite peaceful played on recorder, "the score calls for a variety of high and low pitches". Very haunting, to me, kind of a quiet before a beautiful storm of partials. Then, here they come "Twenty -Eight" (1991) (28 minutes), then Twenty Eight -Six with Twenty Eight (1991) and ending with Twenty Eight with Twenty Nine (1991). All three of these pieces where played and sounded beautifully, I wont even try to describe the excitement I had listening to these, I'll leave that up to the listener, but it was a whirlwind. I have never heard any of the Number pieces in Audio DVD format before and to be honest I'm very glad I did, very powerful. OgreOgress productions and the players should be commended on releasing these recordings, along with there list of other John Cage "First" recordings. Quite stunning in there powerful subtle beauty.
This is the first review I've ever been compelled to write, so please be gentle. I wish I could give more than five stars on this, a great experience for fans of John Cage and his number pieces and for listeners who want to experience a way of beauty they've might not have heard before.