All Things Cage: Laura Kuhn Presents Amelia Cuni’s renditions of 18 Microtonal Ragas from Cage’s “Solo for Voice 58” (Song Books, 1970) (Audio)
Every now and then I have the pleasure of introducing someone well versed in John Cage’s music to a composition previously unknown. Such was the case this past week, in conversation with the marvelous musician Aaron Larget-Caplan, who has made really beautiful transcriptions of various works by Cage for classical guitar. Have a listen to his 2018 CD for Stone Records, entitled John.Cage.Guitar, which includes Cage’s Dream, 6 Melodies for Violin & Keyboard, Bacchanale, In a Landscape, and A Room. On the subject of Indian music, I asked whether he knew Cage’s Solo for Voice 58: 18 Microtonal Ragas, the last piece in Volume I of his Song Books (1970). Aaron didn’t know it and promptly bought the recording, obtained the score, and fell in love! What he heard was Amelia Cuni’s incredible realizations, which were released on CD well over a decade ago (2007) on the Other Minds label (OM 1010-2). I’m going to play a few of Cuni’s ragas, introducing them by reading from Cuni’s extremely informative liner notes.
Other Minds, an organization dear to the heart of the John Cage Trust, describes itself as “a global New Music community where composers, students, and listeners discover and learn about fine innovative music by composers from all over the world.” Check out their website – otherminds.org – for info about their Archives (radiom.org), broadcasts and podcasts, live events (including its essential Annual Festival), and records, this last a select catalog of contemporary music exploring areas seldom touched by mainstream institutions. Its co-founders are Charles Amirkhanian, a composer of sound poetry and electroacoustic music and a longtime broadcaster on KPFA Radio (1969-1992), and Jim Newman, the legendary founder of San Francisco’s first serious art gallery of the modern era, Dilexi (1959-1970), and producer of experimental television programs and films on music and the visual arts.