DRAM Wishes John Cage A Happy Centennial

Posted on Thursday, November 29, 2012

A number of DRAM's member labels have released recordings of John Cage's works, including New World Records, Lovely Music, and Edition Wandelweiser.  However, no label has been more complete and rigorous in its presentation of Cage's music than Mode. Mode's ongoing series of the complete works of John Cage (not to mention similar series for such composers as Morton Feldman and Christian Wolff) provides the closest thing available to a complete recorded overview of the iconoclast's work, and honors the composer's vision by using some of the finest interpreters of Cage in the world.

In a recent exchange, Mode's Brian Brandt observed (in a paraphrase here) that John Cage's compositional method did not end on the page: there is a very strong element of oral tradition, of a transmission from Cage to the performer in the case of each work. Many Mode recordings feature performers that received that person-to-person transmission, resulting in a series that faithfully represents of some of the most important avant-garde American music of the 20th century.

During the centennial DRAM's subsidiary journal, Sound American, is devoting an entire issue to the performers and performance practices around John Cage's Song Books and Number Pieces.  In many cases, the performers we speak to have recorded for Mode and are represented by DRAM.  This is a great opportunity to take some time and explore what Mode and DRAM have to offer by visiting John Cage's composer page in DRAM and streaming some of the works mentioned in the journal, or just let your ears go wandering and discover a great wealth of music from one of America's cultural icons.