FOUR WALLS is a powerful and pivotal work in Cage's oeuvre. This large-scale piece was written as a "dance-drama" with text and dance by his long-time collaborator Merce Cunningham. It was performed only once in 1944 in a production with actors (which included a young Julie Harris) and other dancers, and was not heard again until it was revived some 30 years later.
Cage said that Four Walls deals with the "disturbed mind." This feeling is accentuated by the dramatic music, whose use of repetition, intense ostinatos, and silence evokes at times a harrowing closed-in sensibility. In addition, some long silences which are integral to the composition allow the listeners to turn their attention inwards.
It was written using only the white keys of the piano.
Four Walls shows Cage's seminal ideas on silence, repetition and gradual change, as well as influences of Eastern philosophy and music-its use of repetition foreshadows later minimalist music.
At Cunningham's request, Cage also devised a shorter "solo" piece extrapolated from Four Walls, which Cunningham performed several times in his early recitals. Entitled SOLILOQUY, it is also presented here.
The Three Easy Pieces are early, tonal Cage. The three movements-Round, Duo, and an "infinite" Canon-are written in an almost continuous 2-part contrapuntal style.
Liner notes are by Cage's long-time friend and publisher, Don Gillespie.
Reviews"It is a music of pure geometry, a patchwork of white notes and white silence that is deliberately oppressive yet intriguing, with relief provided by a section consisting just of an erotic monody, here sung (beautifully) by Jack Bruce of Cream." - Paul Driver, The Sunday Times, 10 August 2003