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16,95 €

John Cage
ASLSP (para piano solo)


REF.: NEOS 11042
EAN 13: 4260063110429
Si realiza el pedido hoy, este producto estará listo para ser enviado el lunes 21/10/2019


FECHA DE PUBLICACIÓN
24/12/2010

INTÉRPRETES

Sabine Liebner, piano



CONTENIDO

John Cage (1912-1992):

ASLSP para piano solo (1985)

[01] No. 1 08:20
[02] No. 7 (as 2nd piece) 07:38
[03] No. 2 06:12
[04] No. 3 05:48
[05] No. 4 10:18
[06] No. 5 10:29
[07] No. 7 07:43
[08] No. 8 07:32

1 CD - DDD - 64'05''


RESEÑA (La Quinta de Mahler)

La versión de ASLSP que contiene el registro que nos ocupa fue compuesta para piano en el año 1985. Está dividida en ocho partes sin posibilidad de omisión de ninguna de ellas ni de repetición. Su duración en el disco es de 64:05. No hay notación respecto a tempo y dinámicas; sólo figuran sus proporciones temporales. Su título proviene de la abreviatura de as slow as possible (tan lento como sea posible) como de una inexplicable exclamación del Finnegans Wake de James Joyce: “Soft morning city!  Lsp!”. Tiempo y espacio han de tener una clara correspondencia, deben oírse pero también “verse” en este caso.

Pero ¿qué lentitud se requiere para la interpretación? ¿es una prueba absurda para la resistencia física del pianista? Por razones prácticas, para un CD la duración es su capacidad de almacenamiento, 80 m. Pero como la idea en realidad es otra que rebasa la experiencia humana, se le ocurrió al organista Gerd Zacher proponer a Cage una muy especial versión para órgano: Organ2/ASLPS, que se escribió en 1987. En la pequeña ciudad alemana de Halberstadt, conocida por su tradición en el diseño de órganos para iglesias se construyó en 1361 el primer órgano de 12 tonos, por lo que se considera como la cuna de la música moderna. Si al año 2000 (Cage hubiera cumplido 88 años) le restamos 1361 obtendremos 639 años -71 para cada una de sus nueve partes- que es la duración integra de la pieza de órgano. El lugar escogido para el acontecimiento ha sido la restaurada iglesia de San Burchardi, antiguo monasterio cisterciense, por la que pasan anualmente diez mil visitantes para escuchar y ver esta instalación que invita a percibir el tiempo de modo inhabitual en ausencia de sentido narrativo, un presente de largas notas, acordes y silencios no localizados que parecieran surgir del mismo espacio y atmósfera de la iglesia. No hay intérprete –unos sacos se encargan de presionar las teclas-, y los gastos de mantenimiento son sufragados por donantes creyentes en el arte… pero de largo alcance.           

El segundo disco recoge tres Number Pieces, en este caso ONE (1987), ONE2 (1989) y ONE5 (1990), las tres escritas para piano. Durante esta última etapa creativa, Cage aumentó la indeterminación de los parámetros fijando solamente lo mínimo necesario, es decir, los paréntesis temporales que determinan sus duraciones pero que a su vez también pueden ser móviles. En fin, una aleatoriedad controlada dentro de la cual azar e intención actúan en una simbiosis musical cuyos dilatados silencios entre notas colaboran al clima impredecible que prescinde de lo emocional, pues queda conscientemente ausente el proceso de asociaciones que pudiera conducir a ello. Música de extrema libertad formal y adaptabilidad en todos los casos, desconcertante y gozosa al tiempo, en la que el intérprete tiene que tomar no pocas decisiones durante la ejecución, lo que hablando de Cage siempre conlleva que cada músico cree su versión personal e intransferible. La pianista Sabine Leibner colabora habitualmente con músicos actuales del área germana (Neuwirth, Widmann,…) y últimamente se ha volcado en los compositores norteamericanos del siglo XX, llegando a conocer en profundidad la obra de piano de Morton Feldman y John Cage.

Manuel Luca de Tena

---

John Cage composed ASLSP for piano solo in 1985. In 1987, at the suggestion of the organist Gerd Zacher, he made his now legendary arrangement for organ, entitled Organ 2/ASLSP. The letters ASLSP stand for “as slow as possible”. It is an expression mark that has confronted performers with a conundrum. The opposite extreme, which Cage gives us in his Freeman Etudes, is “as fast as possible”.

This is, of course, of utmost difficulty in performance, but simplicity itself to understand. “As fast as possible” is a technical term that drives the player to the limits of his or her physical capabilities. It is not an absolute tempo mark, but one relative to the skill of the performer. It hearkens back, as is well known, to Robert Schumann, who called for a tempo “as fast as possible” in his G-minor Piano Sonata of 1838 (op. 22), only to reduce it to absurdity a moment later by adding “even faster”.

This inherently impossible option lent direct verbal expression to his febrile creativity. It might equally well have been invented by Cage, though what is grim earnest for Schumann is an inwardly detached game for Cage. In any event, all musicians understand what “as fast as possible” means the moment they reach their manual or mental limits. But what about “as slow as possible”?

In the early 1960s the great Danish symphonist Vagn Holmboe, the most important composer his country produced between Carl Nielsen and his own pupil Per Nørgård, gathered together his four string symphonies to create an interlocking hour-long cycle, to which he gave the name Kairos. Here ‘kairos’ stands for subjective or psychological time, as opposed to chronos, quantified or physical time. In earlier ages this distinction did not really exist for musicians, but today it has become a fundamental issue in musical performance.

Is the specified physical time (the metronome mark) crucial in Beethoven’s music, or is it the re-creation of the music’s structure and the resultant visceral sensation of coherence? In Cage’s case, the question can be put as follows: Should “as slow as possible” relate to physical duration, independent of human capabilities? If so, the limit is only reached where human calculation comes to an end, i.e. what our cognitive faculties call “bordering on infinity”, for it exceeds our powers of imagination. Or does it relate to the musician’s ability to impart, “as slowly as possible”, a palpably coherent shape to a sequence of sounds?

This question is one that musicians must answer for themselves. If they take the latter track, the maximum limit, as with fast tempos, is the limit of their capabilities, in this case their ability to shape the sonic continuum. This, however, is to presuppose that Cage’s music takes into account the laws of dynamic musical coherence, which it very deliberately does not.

When Cage studied with Arnold Schoenberg, he quickly realised – as he admitted to the end of his days – that he saw no meaning and took no interest whatsoever in the progressions and regularities of harmony. Schoenberg in turn said of his student, who hung on his every word yet followed a completely different path, that he was “not a composer” but “an inventor – of genius”.

Cage assembled sounds so to speak neutrally, as phenomena. They resemble objects in a room that are meant to function only in themselves and in relation to the room, not as part of a kinetic flux or a dynamic process, as music had previously been understood. Taking this metaphor seriously, let’s try to imagine how the instruction “as slow as possible” might be translated. We ineluctably arrive at the size of the room as equivalent to the duration of the piece: the music is meant to be played as slowly as possible in the same sense that an exhibition room containing certain objects is meant to be as large as possible.

This analogy in turn leads us to conclude that our frame of reference for slowness probably relates to physical time. The instruction is tantamount to saying “as simple as possible” – namely, we must make a decision within the bounds of the given conditions. On a CD recording, for instance, the maximum time span amounts to 80 minutes for the entire piece or each of its eight sections, and thus a maximum of 640 minutes. In a concert, it extends to the moment the maintenance staff locks up the auditorium.


ASLSP consists of eight pieces, seven of which are to be selected and placed in an unchanging order. (In other words, a performance will never be complete no matter how long it lasts – another quintessentially Cagean idea.) Nonetheless, every performance of ASLSP has eight movements, for one randomly selected piece must be repeated. Apart from the instruction contained in the title, there are no verbal clues to the performance, nor any dynamic marks.

Each piece is exactly two lines long in written notation. The relative durations among the pieces are predefined. The “only” thing missing is an absolute point of reference. This has led to extremely varying interpretations. Steffen Schleiermacher, for example, gives each piece exactly two minutes’ time, and is thus finished after 16 minutes, making ASLSP sound much swifter and more fugitive than many another Cage piece in his repertoire.

On the Halberstadt organ, in contrast, the work is calculated to last 639 years. Cage aficionados pilgrimage to the hallowed site with each change of sound (first sound: 5 July 2004; first change: 5 May 2006; finale: 2639). Is this “as slow as possible”? Will the church still be standing after this length of time? Will anyone still be interested? Whatever the case, there is one thing that the letters of the title ASLSP do not contain: a question mark. Instead, they harbour an irrational literary allusion: “Soft morning city! Lsp!” – the opening cries of the final section in James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake.

Christoph Schlüren
Translation: J. Bradford Robinson

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