Album: A Chance Operation: The John Cage Tribute
Artist: various artists
1993 Koch International L.P.
CD: 3-7238-2 Y6x2

Musicians (where details specified):
Patrick Moraz: prepared piano, piano preparation (2)
Charles "Chuck" Turner: prepared piano, piano preparation (2)
Reek Havoc: sampling of prepared pianos, sampling programming (2)
Steve Kraatz: programming & MIDI (2)
Lee Bales: programming (2)
Roger Zahab: violin (4)
Ken Nordine: sampled piano, synths, vox (5)
Kris Nordine: EMU-II Clocks (5)
Akio Akashi: additional programming (8)
Robert Black: double bass (9)
Glen Moore: contrabass (13)
Paul McCandless: oboe, bass clarinet, sopranino saxophone (13)
Ralph Towner: synths (13)
David Van Tieghem: percussion, speech (15)
John Cage: introduction (21)

Produced by the Kronos Quartet and Judith Sherman (1), Patrick Moraz (2), Jackson Mac Low/Anne Tardos (3), Laurie Anderson (7, 12, 17, 22), Ryuichi Sakamoto (8), Larry Austin (9), David Tudor (10), Yoko Ono (11), Oregon (13), Takehisa Kosugi (14), David Van Tieghem (15), James Tenney (16), Robert Ashley (18), Frank Zappa (19), John Cale (20), Steven Smith (22)
Recorded by Rob Miller (10), Russel Schissler (13), David Van Tieghem (15). MIDI recording by Reek Havoc (2).
Engineered by Bryce Goggin (3), Bob Caruthers (4), Kris Nordine (5), Ben Rizzi (6), Bruce Elliott (9), David Meschter (10), Doug Durbow (13), Aaron Heller and Bob Henrickson (21). Assistant engineer: Fernando Aponte (8), Vaughan Merrick (8). Assistant recording engineer: Gary Clugston (11).
Mixed by Goh Hotoda (8), Larry Austin (9), Yoko Ono and Rob Stevens (11). Assistant mix engineer: Wes Naprstok (11). Remastered by Tom Erbe (16)

Executive producer: Gary Davis
Album producers: Gary Davis & Michael Fine

Pieces {CD tracks}:
Disc 1:
1. {1-2} Kronos Quartet: Excerpt from Thirty Pieces for String Quartet [Cage]
2. {3-5} Patrick Moraz: Three Dances for Two Prepared Pianos, Dance #1 [Cage]
3. {6-14} Jackson Mac Low/Anne Tardos: First Four-Language Word Event [Mac Low/Tardos]
4. {15-18} Christian Wolff/Roger Zahab: Six Melodies Variation for Solo Violin [Wolff]
5. {19-26} Ken Nordine: A Cage Went in Search of a Bird [Nordine]
6. {27-40} Earle Brown: Three Solos for Trumpet from the Concert for Piano and Orchestra [Cage]
7. {41-48} Laurie Anderson: Cunningham Stories (At the Age of Twelve...) [mus: Anderson; text: Cage]
8. {49-52} Ryuichi Sakamoto: Haiku FM [Sakamoto]
9. {53-63} Larry Austin/Robert Black: art is self-alteration is Cage is... for four double bass quartets [Austin]
10. {64-69} David Tudor: Webwork, (excerpt) Music for the Cunningham dance Shards [Tudor]
11. {70-98} Yoko Ono: Georgia Stone [Ono]
    1st movement: Darkness
    2nd movement: Mommy, Where are You?
    3rd movement: Light

Disc 2:
12. {1-4} Laurie Anderson: Cunningham Stories (Merce Cunningham Phoned His Mother...) [mus: Anderson; text: Cage]
13. {5-10} Oregon: Chance/Choice [McCandless/Moore/Towner]
14. {11-18} Takehisa Kosugi: 75 Letters and Improvisation [Kosugi]
15. {19-26} David Van Tieghem: Living Room Music [Cage; lyric quoted from Stein]
    1. To Begin
    2. Story ("Once upon a time the world was round and you could go around and around." - Gertrude Stein)
    3. Melody
    4. End
16. {27-32} James Tenney: Ergodos I for John Cage [Tenney]
17. {33-39} Laurie Anderson: Cunningham Stories (Every Morning...) [mus: Anderson; text: Cage]
18. {40-50} Robert Ashley: Factory Preset [Ashley]
19. {51-55} Frank Zappa: 4'33" [Cage]
20. {56-63} John Cale: In Memoriam John CageŚCall Waiting [Cale]
21. {64-78} Meredith Monk: Aria [Cage]
22. {79-81} Laurie Anderson: Cunningham Stories (The Cunningham Company...) [mus: Anderson; text: Cage]
23. {82-85} New York City [recorded outside John Cage's apartment]

Notes: Each piece covers several CD track marks. To quote Gary Davis in the liner notes:

It [...] becomes quite a challenge to produce a recording that John Cage would not only have listened to, but enjoyed as well. [...] It has to be a recording that pulls the listener into the event, making him or her a participant. And most importantly, and this is the hard part, the recording should allow the music to change so that each listening experience is a new one!


To achieve our goal we wanted to use the most accessible technology available. We found it hiding in the compact disc player.  Most disc players have a rarely used button referred to as the "random" function. Its purpose is merely to shuffle songs on a disc. On these discs the random function will do a little bit more. For this recording we have added extra track marks within each piece on the discs. If you listen to a disc from beginning to end in the "normal" fashion, those extra track marks have no effect. However [...] press the random function, you will have created an entirely new work by shattering all the pieces on the disc and re-sequencing them in an entirely new and unique fashion. [...] the number of possibilities is so high, that unless you record a particular sequence, you will never hear it again.

[...] For these discs, the number of possible sequences is in excess of a GOOGOL (a one followed by a hundred zeroes)! [...] Once you've played a particular random sequence, not only is it unlikely that your disc player will ever play that sequence again, but even if everyone on the face of the earth bought these discs and played them with the random function continuously until the day they died, the total number of possible sequences would still not have been exhausted! So each random play is a unique event.

Moraz plays a piece by Cage and describes, in the liner notes, meeting Cage and Merce Cunningham in 1978 and 1979. Note Reek Havok, Alan White's long-time associate, on Moraz's piece.

And, yes, Zappa's cover of "4'33"" is just 4 minutes and 33 seconds of silence. (HP, 27 Dec 02)

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