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Work Title
The Seasons (for Orchestra)
Alt. Title
The Seasons (for Orchestra)
Composed in 1947. Premiered in New York, May 18, 1947.
Ensemble Type
Work Length
15 minutes
Ballet in one act for orchestra.
This work was originally used as music for the choreographed piece by Merce Cunningham of the same title, with stage design by Isamu Noguchi. This work is also available in a version for solo piano from C.F. Peters (EP 6744a). The Seasons consists of nine movements: Prelude I - Winter - Prelude II - Spring - Prelude III - Summer - Prelude IV - Fall - Finale (Prelude I). It’s a sweet and lyric composition, and like Sonatas and Interludes and String Quartet in Four Parts, indicative of Cage's interest in Indian aesthetics. Here, Cage uses the Indian signification as deep inspiration: Winter as quiescence, Spring as creation, Summer as preservation, and Fall as destruction. It is one of the compositions in which Cage tries to "imitate nature in her manner of operation", an idea he also drew from Indian philosophy. The work's overall rhythmic structure is 2-2-1-3-2-4-1-3-1, which also expresses the relative lengths of each of the work’s nine movements. Cage first composed the piano version, then an orchestral version, with assistance with its orchestration from Lou Harrison and Virgil Thomson.
for Lincoln Kirstein
Peters Edition EP 6744