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John Cage Ragas with Amelia Cuni


During the 1940s, John Cage came in contact with Indian music and philosophy and started applying some of its principles to his own work. Solo for Voice 58 is an indeterminate work and consists of 18 separate and independent parts. In his directions, Cage refers explicitly to traditional Indian music forms. The challenge for the performer is to develop ragas and talas in a non-traditional context. This challenge has been the driving force behind Amelia Cuni’s intensive engagement and development of 18 Microtonal Ragas for the past few years. In Cage’s score, he indicates a series of graphically notated microtones from which the performer can select the raga pitches, leaving open a vast range of possibilities, encouraging the interpreter to reflect, question, choose and create in an experimental way. The American premiere of this iconoclastic interpretation was presented on November 2, 2007 at St. John’s Presbyterian Church in Berkeley, California with Cuni, Werner Durand on drones and electronics, and Raymond Kaczynski and Federico Sanesi on percussion.

The complete Solo for Voice 58 consisting of 18 microtonal ragas, to be improvised with pitches selected from Cage’s graphically notated score. The talas are fixed in the score. Selections from the following pieces from Cage’s Song Books (1970) will also be superimposed:
Solos for Voice 6, 10, 19, 32, 57, 71, 76, 77, 78 (theatre)
Solos for Voice 41, 42, 51 (theatre using electronics)
Solos for Voice 3, 21, 72 (songs using electronics)

Texts have been selected from the following sources:
Original writings by Amelia Cuni; Poems by Alain Daniélou (Raga Dhyanas, Microtones, Affinitá, Der Grundton, The Drone); Solos for Voice 3, 12, 21 (including texts by Henry David Thoreau and Erik Satie); other works in Amelia’s repertoire; Chautal text by Dilip Chandra Vedi; Brajbhasa from Surdas Holi Song; Poems by Roberto Sanesi (Su fondamente invernali, La bottega del vetraio)

Click here to download a PDF copy of the program for 18 Microtonal Ragas featuring Amelia Cuni.

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