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The major work on this first volume of John Cage’s two-keyboard works is his 1944 A Book of Music, for two prepared pianos. At this early stage, Cage was still thinking of the prepared piano as a compact percussion ensemble, and the piece is built on the kind of rhythmic structures he had used for his percussion works. Within this framework, he employs numerous scale and arpeggio patterns, apparently inspired by Mozart’s use of scales. These eventually become repetitive and, despite its rhythmic propulsion and exotic timbres, the work can seem overlong. The Pestova/Meyer piano duo succeed in keeping it lively and attractive for most of its 35 minutes. They also deliver an engaging version of the Music for Amplified Toy Pianos (1960). Pestova is the soloist on Cage’s Suite for Toy Piano (1948), which charms despite a somewhat over-deliberate opening.

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Piano International, 2014 - ©Rhinegold Publishing