Piano: John Cage’s Two² w Patti Deuter (Sat 1 Dec, Cage/Debussy Fête-Concert, @ Le Piano Studio, SF, repeated various times between 3-10pm)

Eliane Lust performs “Chronicle of a Piano Woman”, Paris

NOTE: Due to unforeseen circumstances, this concert has been rescheduled to Sun 16 Dec, 4pm-11pm.

Internationally renowned concert pianist Eliane Lust was raised in Belgium and has performed to critical acclaim on the world’s most prestigious concert stages from Paris to New York.

Those who have been fortunate enough to hear her can attest to her amazing ability to melt into the piano and control it from the inside.

Eliane Lust's Le Piano Studio

Debussy, by Marcel Baschet, 1884

Her Le Piano Studio is the elegant epicenter of her rehearsal and teaching activities, and the site of a glorious Fête-Concert on Sat 1 Dec Sun 16 Dec, mixing works by Cage and Debussy on the occasion of their respective 100th & 150th birthdays this year.

I’m very excited to join a party of some of the most exciting pianists in the Bay Area, including many co-conspirators in the glorious revival of the Satie/Cage Vexations at Berkeley Arts Festival in September, to explore the works of these 2 pioneering explorers, who each thoroughly re-invented the piano for their era.

John Cage at the piano

The event will start around 4pm and ending around 11pm, during which most of the works will be repeated several times in between bouts of food, laughter and good company.

The Cage/Debussy Fête-Concert is a private rather than public affair, but I can wrangle a few invitations to this unique event.

If you’d like to come, please contact me at joe@joelasqo.com as soon as possible, and I’ll see what I can do to get you in and let you know more details.

Patti Deuter performs Cage's "Four Walls" @ Berkeley Arts Festival

My partner in crime for the two-piano/two-pianist piece Two² by Cage will be the delightful and brilliant pianist Patti Deuter, organizer and ringleader of the aforementioned Satie/Cage Vexations.

Patti Deuter (L, at toy piano): "Violette Nozieres, Revenant"(from performance-Installation with toy piano and projection of surrealist book; Patti Deuter and Anna Wexler, Pierre Menard Gallery, Cambridge, MA, 2009) Photo: ©Jane Wang

Often found in Paris as well as California, and a student of Eliane Lust’s, Patti is an indefatigable macherin of the new music and piano scenes of the Bay Area. From her studio-cottage nestled in the trees, where everything is keyed to one of four vibrant synesthetic colors (forming, I would say, a visual rootless 13th chord in second inversion… Scriabin would approve), passionate strains of Rzewski, Cage, Wolff, and other masters of 20th and 21st century piano escape to infuse the living air.

John Cage and D.T. Suzuki (鈴木 大拙 貞太郎)

As is well known, John Cage was heavily influenced by Zen Buddhism and Japanese culture in general, and the piece we’ll perform, Two², is his remarkable musical re-imagining of the fascinating traditional Japanese linked-verse form, renga (連歌).

With beginnings in the time of the Man’yōshū (万葉集), c. 760 A.D., renga evolved into a very sophisticated game played by connoisseurs who used its 5-line stanzas consisting of a 5-7-5 syllable haiku (俳句) + a 7-7 syllable response in an interplay of group-improvised linked-verse, exchanged among the members of a (usually saké-soaked) poetry party (not unlike the similar game of cadavre exquis played in graphical form by the Paris surrealists).

Renga paper of poet Nishiyama Sōin (西山宗因連歌懐紙)

Japanese poetry fiends took renga to remarkable heights of sophistication, defining an elaborate aesthetic of seasonal symbolism, pivot-stanzas referring to moon and cherry blossoms, and special gold-and-silver dusted papers of different shapes, sizes and colors, corresponding to distinct parts of the symbolic program, to brush their poems onto whilst sipping from cups of saké brought to them sushi-boat-style by special garden streams constructed for this purpose.

John Cage performs "Water Walk" on "I've Got A Secret"

Cage’s luminous and serene Two² for 2 pianists uses the 36-stanza kasen (歌仙) form of renga, re-imagining each of the 5-line stanzas as 5-measure musical units, each filled with 5 or 7 piano sound-events which replace the syllables of the original poetic form.

Say hello to my little friend...

Like many of the other Cage “number pieces”, the timing of the musical events in Two² is not strictly determined, but unlike the “time bracket” approach to indeterminacy found in many of the number pieces,  here instead Cage sets up a marvelous game of simple rules to let the two pianists create an interlinked joint control of fluid time, a game in which they can support or subvert each other, creating meditative kaleidoscopic ripples of piano sound which will be uniquely different in each performance.

Similar to Western classical music forms having 3 movements, renga-sequences employ 3 sections, called Jō-ha-kyū (). While Patti and I will do the full hour+ version of Two² in a concert setting later in 2013, for this event, we’ll do the final kyū “movement” (stanzas 31-36), constituting the climax of the piece, and including one of the two “flower stanzas” of the kasen form.

Modern Renga Banquet at the Shusuitei in the Kyoto Imperial Park (連歌の会席〜京都御苑内の拾翠亭にて)

Modern Renga Banquet at the Shusuitei in the Kyoto Imperial Park (連歌の会席〜京都御苑内の拾翠亭にて)

And we will honor the tradition of alcohol-assisted creativity, as we’ll be marking the end of each stanza with ceremonial libations (which may lead to some interesting musical results as we repeat performances during the event…).

Many of the most exciting pianists in the Bay Area will be joining us with other wonderful Debussy and Cage pieces. A full list is not in hand, but here are some of the pianists who will attend:

Eliane Lust – Debussy (perhaps L’isle joyeuse…)

Luciano Chessa performing Joan La Barbara's "Hear What I Feel" @ Pamela Z's VOICECAGE, 21 Aug 2012

Luciano Chessa – Cage:

Patti Deuter (solo) – Cage: One

Jim Jowdy

Jim Jowdy – Debussy: Suite bergamasque

Joe Lasqo @ Meridian Gallery, 11 Jan 2012 (Photo: PeterBKaars.com, http://www.peterbkaars.com)

Joe Lasqo & Patti Deuter – Cage: Two²

David Manley at the piano

David Manley – Debussy: Préludes, Livre 1

Roger Rohrbach plays Satie's Vexations at Berkeley Arts Festival, 2012.09.09

Roger Rohrbach – Cage: Dream & Debussy: Reverie

ChrIstina Stanley

Daniel Steffey

Christina Stanley – Cage: Chorals for Violin Solo

Christina Stanley and Daniel Steffey — Cage: Aria/Fontana Mix

Anton Vishio

Anton Vishio — Cage: Two Pieces for Piano (1946) + perhaps Debussy: Nocturne

Kelly Walker at the piano

Kelly Walker – Cage: In A Landscape

The highlight of the Fête-Concert will no doubt be the brilliantly intimate sound of Eliane Lust.

Eliane Lust at Old First Church, San Francisco (Photo credit: Panithi Damrongkul)

Eliane’s innovative programming and adventurous musicianship have garnered her award recognition from the California Art Council and invitations as the featured piano soloist in several multi-media productions. Her uncommon piano repertoire ranges from classical masterpieces to brand new works being written for her by today’s leading contemporary composers. As concert curator Eliane has also created groundbreaking musical events such as the “O Solo Milhaud” 100th Anniversary Piano Marathon, to the Musicalliance Concert Series, to Mozart Madness, simultaneously presenting her dynamic master classes, lecture-recitals and clinics throughout the United States, Europe and French Polynesia.

Eliane has participated in the Aspen, Banff, Ernen, Montalvo, Spoleto and Tanglewood Music Festivals and performed at Carnegie Recital Hall, the Paderewski Festival, Chateau LaGesse, the Dame Myra Hesse Series, Musiconcerts, the Legion of Honor, Les Journées de Périgueux, and others. She’s appeared as soloist with the NJ Philharmonic, the Schubert Society of New York, Boston’s Orchestra & Chorale Society, the Diablo Symphony & the New England Contemporary Ensemble, among others. Her chamber music collaborations include performances with such luminaries as Anner Bylsma, Walter Trampler, Ron Leonard, Aurèle Nicolet and Frederic Rzewski.

A graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Eliane’s musical roots lead directly to the historic pedagogies of both Beethoven and Liszt through her close studies with legendary pianists György Sebök and Leonard Shure. Other important influences include American pianists Richard Goode, Claude Frank, Aube Tzerko, Leon Fleisher, Joseph Kalichstein, Menahem Pressler and chamber coaches Yo-Yo Ma (馬友友), Gilbert Kalish, Eugene Lehner (Léner Jenő) and Louis Krasner (Луис Краснер). A notoriously inspiring coach, Eliane maintains an active master class studio for highly dedicated musicians and performers in San Francisco, California. More information at elianelust.com.

Join us for a unique gathering of musical friends at this Fête-Concert by contacting me at joe@joelasqo.com as soon as possible for one of a limited number of invitations.



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