John Cage


mode 27

Cage Edition 5-String Quartets, Volume 2



mode 27 John CAGE, Vol. 5: Complete String Quartets, Vol. 2 – String Quartet in Four-Parts (1950); Four – Arditti Quartet. Composer Supervised.  96/24-bit Hi-definition

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Cage Edition 5-String Quartets, Volume 2

1. String Quartet in Four Parts  (1949/50)  21:38  First CD recording

2. Four  (1989)  31:07  First recording, written for the Arditti Quartet

The Arditti Quartet

The second volume of Cage’s String Quartets features his first and last works in this repertoire. The well known andexquisitely beautiful, serenely Zen-like early quartet receives its first new recording in 16 years. It is a pivotal workin Cage’s oeuvre, showing the composer’s transition between the rhytmically complex percussion works before it and thechance works of the 1950s. Four was written for the Arditti Quartet, its “time-bracket” form opens a world ofmicrotones, the four independent players forming constantly shifting textures.

The pairing of these two quartets on this recording offers a striking demonstration that the silent compositional voicewhich Cage discovered in 1949 has remained with hin ever since. The booklet features another etching by Cage andextensive liner notes by Cage scholar James Pritchett. Composer supervised recordings.


“My very favorite Cage piece, the String Quartet in Four Parts (1950), a thing of wonderous hockets and ecstatic stillness, composed right before chance took over, is in the Arditti set on Mode, which, together with Tan’s piano recordings, is the best Cage to be had on records.”
—Richard Taruskin, The New Republic

“For those who want to make the plunge into Cage-space with a little caution, there could be no better starting place than the String Quartet in Four Parts, from 1950. The model material and vibrato-free playing produces an ambiance that should appeal to Arvo Pärt fans but always with Cage’s inventive originality that requires no allusion to folk or medieval origins.

As of now, I would say that these (also Vol. 1 on mode 17) are my discs of the year, and probably last year and next year, too.”
—Raymond Chapman Smith, London Times

“The Arditti Quartet have recorded all of Cage’s string quartet music for Mode (this is volume two) and they play it with enormous authority.”
—Bradley Lonard, ABC Radio (Australia)


John Cage on Mode:
John Cage Profile/Discography

Arditti Quartet on Mode:
Gerard Pape (mode 26)
John Cage: The Complete String Quartets Vol. 1 (mode 17)
The Complete String Quartets Vol. 2 (mode 27)
Vol. 19 – The Number Pieces 2 – Five3 for trombone &
string quartet (mode 75)
The Works for Violin 5 (mode 118)
The Works for Violin 6, The String Quartets 4
(mode 144/145)
Chaya Czernowin: Afatsim: Chamber Music (mode 77)
Peter Maxwell Davies: Le Jongleur de Notre Dame (mode 59)
Bernadette Speach: Reflections (mode 105)
Xenakis, UPIC, Continuum: Electroacoustic &
Instrumental works from CCMIX Paris
(mode 98/99)
Alvin Lucier: Navigations for Strings; Small Waves (mode 124)
Elliott Carter – Quintets and Voices  (mode 128)

Irvine Arditti on Mode:
John Cage: The Freeman Etudes (mode 32)
Freeman Etudes 3 & 4 (mode 37)
John Cage: Volume 23: The Works for Violin 4 (mode 100)

The Arditti Quartet Profile
Arditti Quartet Web Site