John Cage concert deeply challenging

Full Article @ Philadelphia Inquirer
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
David Patrick Stearns, Philadelphia Inquirer Classical Music Critic

“…At the Crane Arts center in Northern Liberties, JACK Quartet, the best new music group of its kind, played Cage’s Four, Music for Four and Five3. The first piece was a quiet one played in a traditional string quartet configuration; even in a setting where you could seriously listen to it, the piece yielded little to the naked ear. Music for Four was executed with the musicians dispersed among the seating area, and realized with all of the contrasting ideas lacking in the previous work. It was one of the most exhilarating moments in the festival so far.

Five3 also had the quartet dispersed, with the addition of trombonist James Hirschfeld, in a piece examining a range of possible music within extremely narrow bounds, this time utilizing the pitch-bending possibilities of the trombone slide and the violin fingerboard. Unlike much other quiet Cage, this performance was enveloping, prompting the following theory: Perhaps the only way to truly understand any given Cage piece is to perform it yourself – or at the very least, be in the thick of those who do.”