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Hannafin, Matt

John Cage: Four Realizations For Solo Percussion [CASSETTE + DOWNLOAD]

Hannafin, Matt : John Cage: Four Realizations For Solo Percussion [CASSETTE + DOWNLOAD] (Notice Recordings)

Portland-based percussionist Matt Hannafin presents 4 works from John Cage, 2 from the 60s and 2 from the 90s: "Variations II" & "Variations III", where the performer places or drops transparencies to create a graphic score; "One4" for solo percussion incorporating improvisation; and "c Composed Improvisation" for one-sided drums using instructions and chance operations.

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product information:

Label: Notice Recordings
Catalog ID: NTR049
Squidco Product Code: 26612

Condition: New
Released: 2018
Country: USA
Packaging: Cassette
Recorded at Open Field Recording, in Portland, Oregon, by Branic Howard.


John Cage-composer

Matt Hannafin-Percussion

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Artist Biographies:

"John Milton Cage Jr. (September 5, 1912 - August 12, 1992) was an American composer, music theorist, writer, philosopher, and artist. A pioneer of indeterminacy in music, electroacoustic music, and non-standard use of musical instruments, Cage was one of the leading figures of the post-war avant-garde. Critics have lauded him as one of the most influential American composers of the 20th century. He was also instrumental in the development of modern dance, mostly through his association with choreographer Merce Cunningham, who was also Cage's romantic partner for most of their lives.

Cage is perhaps best known for his 1952 composition 4′33″, which is performed in the absence of deliberate sound; musicians who present the work do nothing aside from being present for the duration specified by the title. The content of the composition is not "four minutes and 33 seconds of silence," as is often assumed, but rather the sounds of the environment heard by the audience during performance. The work's challenge to assumed definitions about musicianship and musical experience made it a popular and controversial topic both in musicology and the broader aesthetics of art and performance. Cage was also a pioneer of the prepared piano (a piano with its sound altered by objects placed between or on its strings or hammers), for which he wrote numerous dance-related works and a few concert pieces. The best known of these is Sonatas and Interludes (1946-48).

His teachers included Henry Cowell (1933) and Arnold Schoenberg (1933-35), both known for their radical innovations in music, but Cage's major influences lay in various East and South Asian cultures. Through his studies of Indian philosophy and Zen Buddhism in the late 1940s, Cage came to the idea of aleatoric or chance-controlled music, which he started composing in 1951. The I Ching, an ancient Chinese classic text on changing events, became Cage's standard composition tool for the rest of his life. In a 1957 lecture, Experimental Music, he described music as "a purposeless play" which is "an affirmation of life - not an attempt to bring order out of chaos nor to suggest improvements in creation, but simply a way of waking up to the very life we're living"."

-Wikipedia (

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Matt Hannafin: "Hello, world. This is what I do.

I WRITE. Books, stories, articles, white papers, reports, blogs, press releases, rants & etc. If you need it to sing, I make it sing. If you need it to rock, I make it rock.

I RE-WRITE. Didn't come out quite right the first time? Pass it here.

I EDIT. From top-line messaging and mid-level tidying to the most persnickety copyediting, I've got you covered.

I have more than 20 years' experience crafting messages, distilling complex topics into accessible reporting, and producing professional publications for a variety of industries. My clients have included global consulting and financial firms, UN agencies, congressional candidates, nonprofits, and major newspapers, magazines, and book publishers. For the business world, I've provided writing, rewrite, and editorial services on more than 200 white papers and reports. As an award-winning travel writer, I've authored more than a half dozen books and thousands of articles for newspapers, magazines, and the web.

I also MAKE MUSIC. As a performing percussionist, I divide my time between experimental music, free improvisation, and Persian classical and traditional music. I've studied with giants and performed with everyone from Persian, Turkish, and Japanese masters to chamber groups, jazz legends, electronic musicians, modern dancers, Zen flower arrangers, and all manner of etcetera. I also serve as curator and director of Extradition, a Portland-based concert series focused on 20th- and 21st-century experimental music.

My roots and much of my history are in New York, but for the past twelve years I've made my home in Portland, Oregon."

-Matt Hannafin Website (

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track listing:


1. c Composed Improvisation (for One-Sided Drums with or without Jangles) 17:16

2. Variations III 13:49


1. Variations II 20:35

2. One4 7:28
sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"Portland, Oregon-based percussionist Matt Hannafin's John Cage: Four Realizations for Solo Percussion, offers attentive, probing interpretations of pieces that bookend the final thirty years of the composer's work.

Simultaneously restless and nuanced, Hannafin's performance demonstrates Cage's continued relevance and enduring ability to push performers beyond their performative biases and toward the unexpected. Written with no instrumentation, "Variations II" (1961) and "Variations III" (1963) both provide toolkit-like sets of marked-up transparencies which are allowed to fall into random overlapping patterns.

"cComposed Improvisation (for One-Sided Drums with or without Jangles)" and "One4" (both 1990) are two of only five pieces Cage wrote specifically for solo percussion, and explore Cage's late-career interest in directed improvisation. "c Composed Improvisation" was written for percussionist Glen Velez, with whom Matt Hannafin studied just three years after the piece was created.

Commissioned by Notice Recordings, these four performances are in dialogue not only with each other but with Notice itself, which has its roots in the underground/DIY realm while also exploring contemporary/academic composition. The accessibility, inventiveness, and challenge of compositions like these make Cage a unique pivot point between these two worlds."-Notice Recordings


cComposed Improvisation (for One-Sided Drums with or without Jangles)
Begun in 1987, returned to and completed in 1990.
Ensemble Type
Work Length
8 minutes
For solo percussion (one-sided drums with or without jangles).
This work -- in versions for Steinberger Bass Guitar, One-Sided Drums With or Without Jangles, and Snare Drum Alone -- comprises 2 pages of text with performance instructions. Each has 3 time brackets, 1 of which is variable, surrounded by 2 that are fixed. Each time bracket contains 1-8 events and 1-64 icti. The performer performs chance operations to decide the number of events and icti to be played, as well as specifics concerning the use of instruments as well as durations of sounds.
For Glen Velez (One sided drum with or without jangles)

Variations II
Composed in 1961. Premiered in New York, March 24, 1961.
Ensemble Type
Parts to be prepared from the score, for any number of players, using any sound-producing means.
The materials for this work consist of 5 small transparencies with a single point on each, and 6 larger transparencies with one line on each. These may be superimposed in any way, creating a configuration of points and lines, to be interpreted as a way of producing sounds. This is achieved by dropping perpendiculars from the points to all of the lines (creating a total of 30 perpendiculars). Measurements of the perpendiculars are used to obtain readings for frequency, amplitude, timbre, duration, points of occurrence within the established period of time, and structure of the event (number of sounds).

Variations III
Composed between 1962 and 1963. Premiered in Berlin, January, 1963.
Ensemble Type
For any one or any number of people performing any actions.
As in Variations I and II, Variations III uses transparencies, 42 in total, each containing a circle. The performer drops these transparencies on a blank sheet of paper and then chooses a small, interconnected group of circles from the mass. From this group, the performer then builds a performing score. There are no instructions as to how (or even if) to produce sounds; moreover, nowhere in the score does the word "sound" appear.
Peters Edition EP 6797

Composed in 1990.
Ensemble Type
Work Length
7 minutes
For solo percussion.
This score consists of six time brackets for the left hand and eight for the right, each containing a single sound. Thus, there are a total of fourteen sounds heard throughout the entire composition. Dynamics and choice of drums and cymbals are free.
Fritz Hauser

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