John Cage


mode 272

Cage Edition 50 – The Percussion Works 3


mode 272 John CAGE:Vol. 50 – The Works for Percussion 3 – cComposed Improvisation (all versions & trio); Branches; Child of Tree; One4 – D’Arcy Philip Gray

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Cage Edition 50-The Percussion Works 3

D’Arcy Philip Gray, percussion & bass guitar

1, 8. c/Composed Improvisation  (1990)  8:13/8:14
for bass guitar, snare drum & one-sided drum –
two trio versions

2. Child of Tree  (1975)  8:11
for amplified plant materials

3. One4  (1990)  6:56
for solo drummer

c/Composed Improvisation  (1990)  (solo versions)
4. For snare drum alone  (8:12)
5. For Steinberger bass guitar  (8:12)
6. For one-sided drums with or without jangles  (8:03)

7. Branches  (1976)  16:12
for amplified plant materials


D’Arcy Philip Gray brings authoritative performances of Cage’s works for solo percussionist. He worked with Cage in 1992 and extensively with David Tudor between 1995-96. Gray was also a musician in the Merce Cunningham Dance Company (1993-95).

Child of Tree (1975) and Branches (1976) are two versions of (more or less) the same piece. The main difference between the two works is that Child of Tree is scored as a solo while Branches as a solo or ensemble piece, the latter was often performed by Cage at “Events” with Merce Cunningham Dance Company. Both pieces ask the performer to assemble a collection of instruments from the plant world and improvise on them with the help of amplification.

cComposed Improvisation (1990): All three versions of this piece, each for a specific performer and instrument (or set of instruments), are presented here. Alternate takes of the three versions were combined in the studio to make what we refer to as the “Power Trio” version — the result was surprising to us and we decided to include two realizations here as well.

In One4 (1990), for solo drummer, Cage asks the performer to pick a collection of instruments, number them and then follow his dual columns of start/stop timings to execute the performance. In the context of this recording, this is by far the most restrictive score, the “least improvised”, but still leaves a lot of freedom such as timbre, dynamic, and length of note.

Informative and personal liner notes by D’Arcy Philip Gray.


Also in John Cage’s WORKS FOR PERCUSSION on Mode Records:

Volume 1: Imaginary Landscapes (complete); Credo in Us – Percussion Group Cincinnati  (mode 229)

The Works for Percussion 23 Constructions; Trio; Quartet; Living Room Music – Third Coast Percussion (mode 243, CD & DVD)

D’Arcy Philip GRAY profile
John CAGE profile
John CAGE: Variations I, II & III, Lecture on Nothing (mode 129)
MOTION Ensemble profile