one to twenty pianos

Premiere: January 12, 1957, John Cage, David Tudor, piano • Concert, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn (New York, USA)

Written for 1 to 20 pianos, this piece was premiered in January 1957 by John Cage and David Tudor. The score is made up of twenty unnumbered pages. Each performer selects from these pages and chooses the order in which to play them, outlining their own path according to the duration of the piece. As in Atlas Eclipticalis, each page contains 5 5-line systems; some pages contain very few events while others are more or less “full.” The majority of the events are also note clusters, to be played in one simple motion. Dynamics, resonance, overlap and interpenetration are up to each player. And as in Atlas Eclipticalis, Cage uses chance procedures as a basis for composition.

[English translation: Ariadne Lih]