Margaret Leng Tan

(b. 1945)

mode 15

Sonic Encounters – The New Piano


mode 15 Margaret Leng TAN: “Sonic Encounters: The New Piano” — piano works of CAGE: Primitive; In the Name of the Holocaust; CRUMB: 5 Pieces; HOVHANESS: Jhala; Orbit; SATOH: Cosmic Womb; GE GAN RU: Gu Yue

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Sonic Encounters - The New Piano
Program notes in English with German and French translations ([18] p. : col. ill.) linked to from resource. Margaret Leng Tan, piano. Recorded 1985, State University of NY and 1987, LRP Studios, NY.

JOHN CAGE (1912 – 1992)

1. Primitive (1942)  3:06  for prepared piano. First recording.

2. In the Name of the Holocaust (1942)  6:41  for string piano. First recording.

ALAN HOVANHESS (1911 – 2000)

3. Orbit No.2, op.102, No.2 (1952)  6:03

4. Jhala, op.103 (1952)  4:31


5.  Five Pieces for Piano (1962)  12:01

SOMEI SATOH (b.1947)

6. Cosmic Womb (1975)  11:35  for 2 pianos with digital delay

GE GAN-RU (b.1954)

7. Gu Yue (Ancient Music) (1986)  18:43

Written for Margaret Leng-Tan. First recording.

Margaret Leng-Tan, piano

The second recording from Margaret Leng-Tan, the “diva of the avant-garde”, featuring works by three composers whom she specializes in: John Cage (USA), Somei Satoh (Japan) and Ge Gan-ru (China/USA). With Sonic Encounters: The New Piano, she explores the effect of Asian aestehtics on contemporary American composers and the influence of American composers on their Asian counterparts.

The first recordings of two early works by CAGE impart a hard-edged brilliance not usually associated with the prepared piano. The serenly mystical works of HOVHANESS embody the Eastern influence of continual melodic invention. CRUMB’s Five Pieces display an extreme sensitivity to the beauty and expressive powerof small units of sound. SATOH’s work is both minimal and lushly romantic, creating a luminous sound of orchestral proportions. GE GAN-RU, China’s foremost avant-garde composer, uses the piano to produce sonorities influenced by traditional Chinese instruments.
Released 1988


Sonic Encounters
OK, so the repertoire (by Cage, Satoh and others) is pretty loopy. But, this is a great introduction to the exotic sounds of the avant-garde piano, and Margaret Leng Tan’s scrupulous artistry reveals the extent to which she takes this music seriously.
—Tamara Bernstein, “Essential Listening”, Tower Guide to
Classical Music
, 2001

“Singapore native Margaret Leng Tan is one of the leading New Music pianists around. Tan plays all the works with grace, sympathy and power. Watch for her.”
—R.K. San Francisco Chronicle, April 24, 1991

“A feast of contemporary piano. If you think that you have to have a pile of electronics in order to find fresh timbral resources, Margaret Leng Tan would like to show you a thing or two.”
—JA, Keyboard Magazine, April 1989

“This is an excellent, well-thought out, and intriguing disc in every respect.”
—Kyle Gann, Fanfare


Margaret Leng Tan on Mode:
Sorceress of the New Piano, The Artistry of Margaret Leng Tan
(mode 194)
John Cage: The Works for Piano 4 (mode 106)
The Piano Works 7 (mode 158)
George Crumb: Makrokosmos Books 1 and 2 (mode 142)
Milos Raickovich: Prelude & Fugue  (version for 2 Toy Pianos)
(mode 45)

George Crumb on Mode Records:
Degenhardt-Kent: Play New Music for 1, 2 & 3 Pianos (mode 19)

Also by Somei Satoh on Mode:
Somei Satoh: From the Depth of Silence: Orchestral Works (mode 135)

John Cage Profile/Discography
Ge Gan-ru Profile
Somei Satoh Profile
Margaret Leng Tan Profile

New Albion Records web site