BMOP/sound, the nation's foremost label launched by an orchestra and devoted exclusively to new music recordings, today announced the August '09 release of John Cage: Sixteen Dances, the first and only available SACD surround sound edition. Widely recognized as perhaps the most influential American composer of the 20th Century, John Cage took a remarkably bold first step in composition by using chance operations in his piece, Sixteen Dances (1951). Designating a turning point in his career, Sixteen Dances established Cage as the leading figure of the American avant-garde through his experiments with chance, indeterminacy, electronics, and multimedia.
Created together with Cage's closest artistic collaborator, Merce Cunningham, and for the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, Sixteen Dances integrates Cunningham's innovative methods of choreographic chance processes to Cage's music. The choreography was concerned with expressive behavior -- in this case the nine permanent emotions of Hindu classical aesthetics with titles like "Anger," "Sorrow," and "Tranquility." Cunningham "wanted a music which would express emotions," -- this request paralleled Cage's own study of Indian philosophy and the cataclysmic changes in his compositional approach at the time. Sixteen Dances was the last work Cage composed before he committed himself to the use of chance operations. It also represents an intermediate step in Cage's development of techniques that uses predefined collections of sounds.
Scored for flute, trumpet, four percussion, piano, violin, and cello, Sixteen Dances has nine movements and seven related interludes, all developed by Cage's compositional technique of chance methodology. The individual sequences, and the length of time, and the directions in space of each were discovered by tossing coins. In 2007, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP) gave a performance of Sixteen Dances that was hailed as "skilled, exacting, and humane," (The Boston Globe). "Especially notable was the focus maintained throughout 'Sixteen Dances,' such that one could still detect, from deep within the Cagean vortex, surprising flashes of beauty."
BMOP/sound, the Grammy-nominated label of the acclaimed Boston Modern Orchestra Project, explores the evolution of the music formerly known as classical. Its eclectic catalog offers both rediscovered classics of the 20th Century and the music of today’s most influential and innovative composers. The label's '08 recordings received several accolades including "Best of 2008" CD nods by American Record Guide, The Boston Globe, The New York Times, National Public Radio, Time Out New York, and Downbeat Magazine. Recent releases include Derek Bermel: Voices (released February); David Rakowski: Winged Contraption (released March); John Harbison: Full Moon in March (released April); and Louis Andriessen: La Passione (released June). Upcoming releases include Elliott Schwartz: Chamber Concertos I-VI; Ken Ueno: Talus; Alan Hovhaness: Exile Symphony; Dominick Argento: Jonah and the Whale; and William Thomas McKinley: RAP.
For more information, visit http://www.bmopsound.org.