Works for Piano, Vol. 2: Swinging; Cheap Imitation; Perpetual Tango; Cheap Imitation* (arr. Feldman); All sides of the small stone for Erik Satie and (secretly given to Jim Tenney as a Koan)
*Margaret Lancaster (flute), *David Shively (glockenspiel), Aki Takahashi (piano)
Mode MOD-CD-327 73:21 mins
Refused permission by the publishers to create a transcription of Satie’s Socrate – or even perform the existing piano-vocal score – Cage responded with inventive sleight of hand. Reducing it to a single, often randomly transposed melodic line but retaining its rhythms and structure, the result was Cheap Imitation (1969): actually a homage to a composer whose uncluttered simplicity Cage adored – and eloquently captured, as evidenced by pianist Aki Takahashi’s warmly sonorous rendition.
Perhaps it’s not surprising that Feldman – Cage’s ever-loquacious ally – should have sought to join the creative conversation. Dedicated to Takahashi, his trio arrangement of Cheap Imitation (1969) parses the material further by assigning certain notes of Cage’s score to flutes, piccolo and glockenspiel. This premiere recording proves it a magical companion to Cage’s original, with co-soloists Margaret Lancaster and David Shiveley complementing Takahashi’s subtle command.
Swinging (1989) and Perpetual Tango (1984) comprise part-erased rhythmic lines found in Satie’s Sports et divertissements. These and the lovely curio of unknown origin, All sides of the small stone for Erik Satie and (secretly given to Jim Tenney as a Koan), owe much to Takahashi’s interpretative skill; for it’s she as performer who selects and organises much of the given material.