John Cage 100 / Recital

John Cage – Music for Piano

John Cage 100 / Recital

Sabine Liebner

Sabine Liebner

© Rupert Karbacher

Past Dates

For many years now, Munich pianist Sabine Liebner has focused on the music of the New York School with great intensity, specialising as an interpreter of works by John Cage and Morton Feldman. At MaerzMusik, she presents one of John Cage’s key works, the four-part Music for Piano series which he composed in the mid-1950s, and One², one of the so-called Number Pieces from 1989.

Cage began the Music for Piano series in 1952, the same year that saw the creation of 4’33, the work that later became so famous. In 4’33, which embodied silence in a predetermined framework of time, coincidental sounds in the environment were all that could be heard. And in Music for Piano a white, unwritten piece of paper gave John Cage the musical material for his composition. He felt that all of the notes were already on it: the small irregularities and spots on the surface of the paper. Cage transcribed them to transparent manuscript paper and, in doing so, determined the pitches. This was how the first works for Music for Piano were conceived. Later, Cage varied the process and implemented further random procedures to make composition decisions. 53–68 and 69–84 (1956), the final works in the series, require sound and noise creations within as well as beyond the piano.
One² (1989) is part of the so-called “Number Pieces” produced during Cage’s later creative period. It is conceived for 1-4 pianos in which the damper pedal is wedged throughout the duration of the work, so that the strings vibrate freely throughout the piece. The pianist goes from piano to piano and plays notes using chance procedures within indicated and flexible time brackets. In One², John Cage limits himself to the use of a minimum requirement of indications.

John Cage
Music for Piano 53–68 (1956)
One² (1989)
Music for Piano 69–84 (1956)

In collaboration with DAAD: Berlin Artists-in-Residence programme and Radialsystem V