Wake Forest to present music of Cage and Crumb

Wake Forest University music professors Teresa Radomski and Louis Goldstein will direct a program of music by contemporary composers John Cage and George Crumb titled “Rainsticks and Ancient Voices” at 8 p.m. Feb. 1 in the university’s Brendle Recital Hall.

In Cage’s “Four3,” a quartet of musicians will perform on violin, two pianos and 12 rainsticks. Guest performer Tobiaz Liebezeit will join Wake Forest music faculty members Goldstein, Jacqueline Carrasco and Katharine Boyes.

According to Goldstein, rainsticks are cacti with nails hammered into the plant. When rice is dropped inside, they make a rain-like sound. He described it as a “light, twinkling, whooshing sound.”

Each of the four players will have three rainsticks. The rainsticks have different pitches based on their sizes.

“The piece is very quiet,” says Goldstein. “This is one of John Cage’s last

compositions and is a very good example of the style he was writing in at the end of his life: a very sparse, almost silent type of music, which, I think, is very beautiful.”

Crumb’s “Ancient Voices of Children” was composed in 1970 for soprano, child soprano, oboe, mandolin, harp, electric and toy pianos, and percussion. The Wake Forest production will feature professional musicians from the Wilmington, N.C., area.

The percussion is an exotic blend of such instruments as Tibetan prayer stones and gongs, says Radomski. “The piece really invokes a primitive soundÖand makes you think of Indian or perhaps African cultures.”

Several movements of “Ancient Voices” will also feature mime directed by James Dodding, a long-time lecturer and director in the Wake Forest theater department. Four characters will be represented in mime: a woman, a child and two guardians of the soul. The miming was devised in 1986 when Wake Forest presented its first performance of “Ancient Voices.” Crumb attended the 1986 performance.

Goldstein, a Wake Forest professor since 1979, recently released a CD titled, “Piano Music by John Cage,” and has performed widely as a piano soloist. Radomski, who joined the faculty in 1977, has recorded for the “Opus One” label, and has given numerous premiere performances, including the first-ever presentation of “Ancient Voices of Children” in Rochester, N.Y.

The concert is free and open to the public. For more information, call 336-758-5026.

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