I was asked to put this piece on the programme for my upcoming concert in Kosovo at the Remusica Festival. The festival itself celebrates modern music and performing John Cage obviously makes sense in the 100th anniversary of his birth (and 20th of his passing away).
This work was written in 1948 when the composer was going through a difficult period in his life. The piece has a meditative character and he requests that there are no silences during the work with the notes sustained throughout.
I tried to learn this work without doing any research beforehand and tried to know John Cage on the day he sat down on the piano and started playing the piece, because I am sure that’s what he did: sat down on the piano and played it. The rest must have come later.
The work is exactly that, a dream. One that you dream on a peaceful night, or if you fall asleep on an early evening by the ocean and you wake up filled with melancholy.
I performed this piece for the first time last week at the Foundling Museum in London and will perform it twice more before playing it at the Remusica Festival on the 27th May. I programmed the piece for the middle of the recital and the many kids who came to the museum were calm by then so the atmosphere was just right for the calmness of this piece. Placing it in between loud Bartok and Liszt also helped!
Prior to performing this piece I wasn’t sure if it would work as a concert piece, could have imagined it would have worked better played to myself or to some friends after a dinner party, but it felt nice to sit still for the whole 8 minutes and just enjoy the sounds, the stillness, the melancholy.