John Cage - Imaginary Landscape No. 1

edited May 2016 in Electronic
I'm trying to determine the recording date for the version of the John Cage track "Imaginary Landscape No. 1" [length 8:21]  found on the lp "Early Modulations: Vintage Volts" [released in 1999]. 
According to a couple of sources the recording date range of the material on the various artists album is 1953 - 1967. The John Cage work was composed in 1939

I did find some notes from a privately issued album of recordings made at the "25-Year Retrospective Concert of the Music of John Cage", at Town Hall, New York, May 15, 1958. This album claims to be the first release of "Imaginary Landscape No, 1" [length 9:00]. If that is accurate the version on "Early Modulations" would have to be later than 1958 but before 1967.

Does anyone here have more information about this track? 


  • edited May 2016
    The recording is of the Jan Williams conducted "Maelström Percussion Ensemble" from
    May 28 - June 1, 1995 at the Slee Concert Hall, University of Buffalo. There's a HatArt
    recording of the 5 I.L. works, including this one, with Anthony Braxton performing on I.L. 5.
  • edited May 2016
    Thanks for that info. You could be correct. However, supposedly the works on the compilation were all recorded before 1968. Also the track lengths differ [8:45 vs. 8:21] but close enough that it could be the same recording. Not sure how accurate it is but the compilation claims the track in question was performed by John Cage.
  • I don't have the "Early Modulations..." disc handy, but if it really is Cage performing (with Xenia and others), then it would be the 1958 recording - the only recorded and released one with this lineup. It would sound like the very live recording that it is - distant and hollow sounding. Is there a YouTube of what you are hearing? That would help me.
  • edited May 2016
    Here's the 1958 version of the only recorded version of Cage performing I.L.

    I think if you remove the audience reaction at the end and silence at the beginning, it probably comes closer to the timing you mentioned.

    I only mentioned the Jan Williams version because that's what they say it is at the Cage site.
  • edited May 2016
    First, thanks very much for helping me to figure this out. Great youtube find; isn't that a great cover photo. It is differently not the same recording. Now I know, wasn't sure.

    I haven't yet found a youtube from Early Modulations: Vintage Volts. However there is a sample on Allmusic that sounds correct.
  • edited May 2016
    Found this in youtube:

    It does sound like the same track. There is quite a bit of silence at the end which would account for the different length. As I presumed the compilation information was off.

    Thanks for your help @rostasi based on listening to the videos I think you had it right at the beginning.
  • Good! Glad you found it. Sorry I didn't have the "...Vintage Volts" at hand, but, really, there've been so many compilations of electronic music released in the past 15 to 20 years - probably due to younger people's interest coming from the outer edges of techno, IDM, etc. - that it becomes a blur as to the sources for everything. John's always been the most important person in my life as well as a personal friend during his last 20 years on the planet. Yes, the CD release of the "... 25-Year..." concert has a nice cover photo. The original recording, of which I have two copies, is very minimal (or "boring" - ha!), but still they're landmark recordings of an era that we don't experience anymore ... thankfully.

  • I appreciate your knowledge in this area. The compilation implied that the recordings would be from much earlier than 1995 :smiley: 

    Very cool that you got to know John Cage personally. I'm not super familiar with his works. What I have read about/heard is certainly mind blowing; at least from a conceptual/technical level.
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