Sonatas & Interludes for prepared piano (1946-48) (Olin)


Blair McMillen

John Cage’s Sonatas & Interludes (1946-48) is recognized as one of his finest achievements and his magnum opus for the instrument. The cycle consists of sixteen sonatas and four more freely structured interludes, collectively expressing the eight permanent emotions of the rasa Indian tradition. The work is dedicated to Maro Ajemian, who first presented the work in its entirety in Carnegie Hall on January 12, 1949. Cage received an award from the Guggenheim Foundation for this work, for “having extended the boundaries of music,” which allowed him to take a six-month trip throughout Europe, where, in Paris, he befriended such contemporaries as Olivier Messiaen and Pierre Boulez. And 4’33”, well, come to Kyle Gann’s talk on Sunday, 11 a.m.!