The Complete John Cage Edition, Volume 32
Number Pieces 3: One8
One8 (1991) (43:35)
for cello solo with Bach.Bow
Written for Michael Bach
first recording with curved bow
cello with BACH.Bow
Cage's One8 was composed for cellist Michael Bach, an artist who had a very important place in Cage's late work.
Number Pieces 3
One8 - for solo cello with Bach-bow
Take a deep breath, and expect nothing. Such advice might usefully apply before listening to any work by John Cage, but the free-from 45 minutes of One8 positively demand it. There are 53 sections, determined in order but not in duration or dynamic, and to begin with the silences seem longer than the notes. Follow Cage's mantra of 'giving up control to let sounds be sounds', however, and the discontinuities begin to tease, take shape and then delight. They show a composer in his twilight - One8 was written barely more than a year before Cage's death in 1992 - with a Stravinskian potential to reinvent and continually challenge himself and his listeners with an insatiable curiosity about sound and music.
Many sections demand chords and harmonies which would have to be spread with a conventional cello bow. Enter Michael Bach, inventor, player and promoter of the curved Bach bow, and dedicatee of the work. The vast range of dynamics, attacks and tone colours produced - often simultaneously - bear eloquent witness to Cage's thorough understanding of the curved bow's possibilities and to Bach's devotion to the cause. Certainly he and the German radio engineers have located a fine line between meditative soundscape and ear-tickling challenge that sounds high-definitive, though there is doubtless plenty of scope for interpretation. The only mystery is why this recording had to wait more than a decade to be released as part of Mode's invaluable Cage edition.
--- Peter Quantrill, The Strad, May 5, 2006
Also by MICHAEL BACH on Mode Records:
"The Art of the Curved-Bow" - Dieter SCHENBEL: Mit Diesem Handen; 5 Inventionen; J.S. BACH: Cello Suite C-major. (mode 52)
John Cage Profile
Michael Bach Profile
© Mode Records