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at178x4    John Cage - Number Pieces 4-CD box set

Apartment House realise all of John Cage’s number pieces for mid-size ensembles.

Disc One:   Five  •  Five2  •  Five5  •  Fourteen  •  Five3

Disc Two:   Five  •  Seven  •  Seven2

Disc Three: Five  •  Five4  •  Thirteen  •  Six  •  Ten

Disc Four:   Five  •  Eight  •  Four5

Youtube extracts:      Seven2     Eight     Thirteen       

You can read the booklet that accompanies the box set, with notes about all the pieces here     

PayPal: Add Cage Number Pieces sale to cart

disc one

1 Five (1988)   5’

Bridget Carey (viola)   Mark Knoop (accordion)   James Opstad (double bass)  

Joe Qiu (bassoon)   Heather Roche (bass clarinet)     

2     Five2 (1991)   5’

Raymond Brien (clarinet)   Peter Furniss (bass clarinet)   Simon Limbrick (timpani)

Christopher Redgate (cor anglais)    Heather Roche (clarinet)

3   Five5 (1991)   5’   

Raymond Brien (clarinet)   Peter Furniss (bass clarinet)

Simon Limbrick (percussion)   Heather Roche (clarinet)   Nancy Ruffer (flute)

4  Fourteen  (1990)  20’

Chloe Abbott (trumpet)   Mira Benjamin (violin)   George Barton (percussion)   

Raymond Brien (bass clarinet)   Bridget Carey (viola)   Mark Knoop (bowed piano)   

Simon Limbrick (percussion)   Anton Lukoszevieze (cello)   Chihiro Ono (violin)   

James Opstad (double bass)   Heather Roche (clarinet)    

Nancy Ruffer (flute & bass flute)   Laetitia Stott (horn)

5   Five3  (1991)  40’

Bridget Carey (viola)   Anton Lukoszevieze (cello)   Gordon Mackay (violin)   

Chihiro Ono (violin)   Barrie Webb (trombone)   

disc two

1   Five (1988)   5’

Mira Benjamin (violin)   Bridget Carey (viola)   Mark Knoop (accordion)   

James Opstad (double bass)   Heather Roche (bass clarinet)

2  Seven (1988)   20’

Mira Benjamin (violin)   Bridget Carey (viola)    

Simon Limbrick (percussion)   Anton Lukoszevieze (cello)   

Siwan Rhys (piano)   Heather Roche (clarinet)  

Nancy Ruffer (flute)    

 3   Seven2 (1990)   52’   

George Barton (percussion)   Simon Limbrick (percussion)   

Anton Lukoszevieze (cello)   James Opstad (double bass)   

Heather Roche (bass clarinet)   Nancy Ruffer (bass flute)   

Barrie Webb (bass trombone)

disc three

1   Five (1988)   5’

Mira Benjamin (violin)   Bridget Carey (viola)   James Opstad (double bass)   

Joe Qiu (bassoon)   Heather Roche (bass clarinet)

                            2   Five4 (1991)   5’   

George Barton & Simon Limbrick (percussion)   Heather Roche (clarinets)

        3   Thirteen (1992)   30’

Chloe Abbott (trumpet)   George Barton (xylophone)   Mira Benjamin (violin)   

Stuart Beard (tuba)   Bridget Carey (viola)    Simon Limbrick (xylophone)   

Anton Lukoszevieze (cello)   Chihiro Ono (violin)    Joe Qiu (bassoon)   

Christopher Redgate (oboe)    Heather Roche (clarinet)   

Nancy Ruffer (flute)   Barrie Webb (trombone)


                                      4   Six (1991)   3’

George Barton & Simon Limbrick (percussion)

5   Ten (1991)   30’

Mira Benjamin (violin)    Bridget Carey (viola)   Mark Knoop (piano)   

Simon Limbrick (percussion)    Anton Lukoszevieze (cello)    

Chihiro Ono (violin)    Christopher Redgate (oboe)   Heather Roche (clarinet)

Nancy Ruffer (flute)    Barrie Webb (trombone)

disc four

1   Five (1988)   5’

Raymond Brien (clarinet)   Pete Furniss (bass clarinet)

Joe Qiu (bassoon)    Christopher Redgate (oboe)   Heather Roche (clarinet)

2   Eight (1991)   60’

Chloe Abbott (trumpet)   Stuart Beard (tuba)   Joe Qiu (bassoon)   

Christopher Redgate (oboe)   Heather Roche (clarinet)   Nancy Ruffer (flute)   

Letitia Stott (horn)   Barrie Webb (trombone)

3 Four5 (1991)   12’   

Raymond Brien (clarinet)   Pete Furniss (bass clarinet)    

Joe Qiu (bassoon)   Heather Roche (clarinet)

The Number Pieces box set has received several outstanding reviews, which you can read here:

Andrew Clements in The Guardian

Michael Rosenstein in Point of Departure

Marc Medwin in Dusted

Ben Harper in Boring Like a Drill

And you can read Julian Cowley’s review in The Wire below:

That was already evident in Ryoanji (1983), inspired by an oasis of tranquillity: the rocks and raked sand of a Zen temple garden in Kyoto. Cage’s enthusiastic engagement with numbers, a few years later, might suggest a more radical move away from the bustle of the world, towards abstraction. But in 1991, reflecting on the presence of numbers in the paintings of his friend Jasper Johns, Cage remarked that, like the beer cans and flags to which Johns often returned in his work, those numerals  are “very close to the thingness of the everyday world. They are not, as it were, ideas of his, but ideas of us all.” He added that, as depicted, those figures are at once “together and separate.”

In these performances, numbers are physically embodied by musicians. Seven2, for example, involves two percussionists, cellist, double bassist and a trio playing low-register wind instruments. The terms of the score require them to work together and separately, resulting in strange forms of harmony that arise from incidental accord. The musicians participating here, in various combinations, are outstanding not only on account of their technical refinement, but also their capacity to tune in to the inner life of Cage’s scores and to pick up the vibrations of possibility they transmit.

Apartment House respect compositional intentions, while also bringing their own insights to these realisations. Their concern for momentary detail is meticulous, as they nurture the overall identity of each piece, intense in their sustained concentration , yet poised for the most delicate shading. Occasionally, Cage has been classed as a philosopher, whose ideas are more interesting than his music. New listeners, prepared to sidestep that prejudice, will find much that is beautiful here, while Cage devotees will welcome an exciting and important release of music too seldom heard.

Julian Cowley, The Wire, September 2021

During the 1980s, John Cage wrote more than 40 pieces that took numbers for their titles. Those titles indicate how many performers are required to realise each composition. In most cases Cage specified instrumentation. His notation simply provides brackets of time within which randomly determined pitches are to be played. Individual musicians, each equipped with a stopwatch, are left to choose their moment, its duration and dynamics. Performed with much care and sensitivity by members of Apartment House, this selection of 13 pieces confirms that during his final years Cage’s music took a decidedly contemplative turn.