Steffen Schleiermacher

John Cage - Piano Works

Price: € 22.95
Format: CD
Label: Phil.Harmonie
UPC: 4250317416261
Catnr: PHIL 06026
Release date: 07 May 2021
2 CD
✓ in stock
€ 22.95
Catalogue number
PHIL 06026
Release date
07 May 2021

"In many passages, the sensation of a pulse is deliberately ignored in favor of an almost endless resounding chord. In a sense this is minimal music."

Pianist, 13-9-2021

About the album

In the last years of his life, John Cage wrote a great many so-called 'Number Pieces' – the title indicating the number of performing musicians. While most of these pieces indicate which instruments are to be played, as well as the sounds that are to be produced, other pieces offer only general tone descriptions or a framework for choosing the tones oneself. What these pieces do have in common is time-organization: Cage designates the measure within which the tones must be played. Should one play these sound-sequences within the interval quickly, then one must wait fort he beginning of the next measure in order to continue; should one play with an even slowness, the seperate intervals are joined without interruption. And so, each performance of the same piece is different: in one instance an even flow of sounds, in another a pulsation of rapid responses accompanied by pauses (including all variations). An exception is 'Two²'. Here the two pianists do not play according to a stopwatch, but ratherb y reacting to one another: Although the piece indicates measure, it does not assign tempo or even pulse. While both interpreters play indipendently of each other, they may continue on to the next measure only when the other player has finished his. Cage decided on teh number of tones within a measure by drawing upon the rules of Renga, Japanese linked poetry, in wich the number of syllables per verse are set at 5, 7, 5, 7, 7. As the pedal is continuously depressed, the notes sound into one another and this inner structure remains undetected.
John Cage schrieb sein 'Solo for Piano' in den Jahren 1957/58. Es dient zugleich als Solostimme des durch heftige Skandale berühmt gewordenen Concert for piano and orchestra. In seiner Erläuterung zur Klavierstimme schreibt der Komponist: "Each page is one system for a single pianist to be played with or without any or all parts written for orchestra instruments. The whole is to be taken as a body of material presentable at any point between minimum (nothing played) and maximum (everything played), both horizontally and vertically: a program made within a determined length of time (to be altered by a conductor when there is one) may involve any reading, i.e., any sequence of parts thereof." "Jede Seite ist ein System für einen einzelnen Pianist. Das ganze muss als ein Körper von Material aufgefasst werden, der an irgendeinem Punkt zwischen Minimum (nichts gespielt) und Maximum (alles gespielt) gezeigt werden kann, sowohl horizontal als auch vertikal: Ein innerhalb einer bestimmten Zeitdauer gemachtes Programm kann jedwelche Lesart sich schließen, z.B. jede Reihenfolge von Teilen oder deren Stimmen." Die äußerst umfangreiche Stimme ist ein Kompendium aller von Cage in dieser Zeit benützten Kompositionstechniken. Eine Gesamtaufführung könnte viele Stunden dauern.


Steffen Schleiermacher, pianist, composer, festival and concert promoter, born in Halle in 1960. He studied piano (Gerhard Erber), composition (Siegfried Thiele, Friedrich Schenker) and conducting (Günter Blumhagen) at the Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy Academy of Music in Leipzig from 1980 until 1985. He was master pupil for composition with Friedrich Goldmann at the Academy of Arts in Berlin during 1986/87 and for piano with Aloys Kontarsky at the Cologne Academy of Music during 1989/90.

Steffen Schleiermacher has concertized as a soloist with the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Deutsche Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Münchner Philharmoniker, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande and other orchestras under Vladimir Ashkenazy, Friedrich Goldmann, Ingo Metzmacher, Wladimir Jurowski and Fabio Luisi. Schleiermacher's recordings amount to more than 80 CDs (e.g. the first recording of the complete piano works by John Cage) with different labels such as Hat Art, Wergo, MDG.

Concert tours have taken him throughout numerous European, South American and Far Eastern countries. Since 1988 he is in charge of the 'musica nova' series at the Gewandhaus Leipzig, in 1989 he founded the Ensemble Avantgarde. He led the January Festival at the Museum of the Fine Arts in Leipzig from 1993 until 2000 and the annual festival 'KlangRausch' at the Mitteldeutsche Rundfunk from 2000 until 2010.

Recent commissions include 'Nach Markus. Passion' for the Bach-Festival Leipzig.

At present Steffen Schleiermacher is working on compositions for the Gewandhausorchestra Leipzig

Schleiermacher's numerous prizes and fellowship awards include the Gaudeamus Competition (1985), Eisler Prize (1986), Kranichstein Music Prize (1986), Christoph and Stephan Kaske Foundation Prize, Munich (1991), Fellowship of the German Academy at the Villa Massimo in Rome (1992), Japan Foundation Fellowship (1997), Fellowship of the Cité des Arts in Paris (1999) and Chevalier des artes et letters (2010), 6x Echo Classic Awards



In many passages, the sensation of a pulse is deliberately ignored in favor of an almost endless resounding chord. In a sense this is minimal music.
Pianist, 13-9-2021

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