John Cage - 1970

John Cage wrote the ninety 'solos for voice' which make up the Song Books in two months in 1970. He had not expected the project- a commission from the Paris Festival d'Automne for Cathy Berberian - to be so large and had to find a way of writing lots of material quickly The result is a sort of compendium of techniques and material from many earlier pieces, so that the Song Books can be seen as a catalogue covering Cage's career since the late 1940s. Each 'solo' is either a 'song' or 'theatre' and is either 'relevant' or 'irrelevant' to the overall theme of connecting French composer Satie with the American philosopher Thoreau, two of Cage's great heroes. Tonight's performance lasts I0 minutes and includes about thirty of the solos, which have been arranged in time and assigned to their performers by chance operations. As far as we know this is the first UK performance of the Song Books since the early 80s. The performers are as follows (not necessarily in order of appearance!):

Solo 6 - Clare Slate
Solo 7 - Mark Evans
Solo 9 - Max St John
Solo 10 - Sam Eastmond
Solo 15 - Vicky Webber
Solo 19 - Wendy Davies
Solo 24 - Allan McDonald
Solo 26 - Simon Dumpleton
Solo 28 - Matthew Dean
Solo 31 - Esther Wise
Solo 32 - David Mitchell
Solo 38 - Shawn Moore
Solo 39 - Amanda Crawley
Solo 43 - Nicola Cassidy
Solo 46 - James Hey
Solo 49 - Vikki Smith
Solo 54 - Robert Gorlik
Solo 55 - Nick Grage
Solo 56 - Ben Oldham Malcolm
Solo 61 - Jennie Spence
Solo 63 - Andrea Harrison
Solo 69 - Rebecca Patchett
Solo 78 - Christopher Barton
Solo 79 - Petar Curie
Solo 86 - Liz Hopkinso n
Solo 87 - Helen Amos
Solo 91 - Jonathan Wilby