John Cage Piano Music Arranged for Guitar

Piano Music Arranged for Guitar
by John Cage, arranged by Aaron Larget-Caplan
Edition Peters, 2017
Sheet Music, Notation, 20 Pages
Buy or Learn More at Edition Peters

Last year I took a look at Aaron Larget-Caplan’s arrangement of Six Melodies by John Cage, and I’m happy to see that he’s at it again with this edition of Cage’s Piano Music Arranged for Guitar. One of my favourite composers, Cage’s music sounds beautiful and expressive on guitar so this is an exciting release. Here he arranges five early and mid-career compositions by John Cage, dating from 1933 through 1948. Works include Three Easy Pieces (Round, Duo, Infinite Cannon), A Room, Chess Pieces, Dream, and In A Landscape.  Here’s a brief intro via Aaron Larget-Caplan on his YouTube.

The score and print quality is beautifully clean and elegant. The compositions work well on the guitar and the arrangements attempt to stick to the originals, even retaining all their original keys. I love this edition as there are virtually no fingering or position indications and the notation clearly reflects the original notation, especially with regard to notes values, even if the guitar can’t fully realize it. This offers insight into Cage’s scores and allows the player to make their own interpretive fingerings and artistic choices. Advanced players and pros will love the minimalist score (I wish more editions like this existed). Beware, if you are more on the beginner or intermediate side as you will might have difficulty with fingering and interpretation so you’ll want a good teacher to help out. That said, I look forward to playing these arrangements and have already started working on Dream which is one of my personal favourites. It is the first sanctioned guitar publication of Cage and keep an eye out for a recording by Aaron Larget-Caplan to be released on Stone records in 2018. A wonderful edition and excellent contribution to the guitar repertoire.

Here’s the publisher’s press release

Boston – Celebrated international music publisher C.F. Peters Corporation has issued, for the first time, a collection of music by the iconic American composer, John Cage, arranged for solo guitar by the internationally recognized guitarist Aaron Larget-Caplan.

The collection Piano Music Arranged for Guitar features five early and mid-career compositions by John Cage, dating from 1933 through 1948. The compositions required little adjustment from the originals and fit very well on the guitar. This collection features playful, meditative, meandering, introspective and even regal music. Stylistically they range from polyphonic tonal compositions of his youth to minimalist, modal, and Far East influenced compositions. Even in his early years Cage was an explorer of sound and form using atypical phrase lengths, simple harmonies, and unusual rhythm structures. The late works in this collection are masterpieces of resonance, and though originally written for dance they are rhythmically deceptive, where listeners can bathe in the solitude of a single line or be hypnotized by their rhythm and pacing, much like the music of Erik Satie, who was a great influence on Cage. All of the works retain their original keys and follow in chronological order: Three Easy Pieces (Round, Duo, Infinite Cannon), A Room
Chess Pieces, Dream, In A Landscape.

This publication is the second of John Cage’s music featuring guitar to be issued by Edition Peters. The first, ‘Six Melodies’, published in 2015 and originally for violin and keyboard, was hailed by the Polish guitar journal ‘Six Strings of the World’ as: “The release of such works is very important for the development of the modern guitar repertoire. The transcription of Larget-Caplan has ennobled our instrument.”

Aaron Larget-Caplan is proud to be collaborating with the celebrated publisher Edition Peters. “To see a publisher celebrating 150 years of success, take a chance on a new voice for the guitar says so much about why they stand as the leaders in the field. They understand the importance and meaning of this edition both for the legacy of John Cage and for the classical guitar. An exceptionally beautiful publication, the compositions are a wonderful introduction for guitarists of all levels to the mind and music of this great and often misunderstood composer.”

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