John Cage: Two³ CD review – fluid, airy and virtuosically unhurried

Going off script … Wu Wei

Stefan Hussong/Wu Wei (Wergo)
by: Kate Molleson, Thu 30 Jul 2015
Two³ is one of the chance-determined Number Pieces that Cage wrote at the end of his life. It was originally for water-filled conch shells and an ancient Japanese mouth organ called the sho, but Wu Wei and Stefan Hussong have gone a little off script here: Wei substitutes the sho for an even older Chinese mouth organ called the sheng, while Hussong adds accordion to his conch shells, with the idea that its metal reeds make it sonically sympathetic as a younger member of the sho-sheng family. Often it’s hard to tell which instrument is playing what, but it doesn’t particularly matter; the effect of the performance is fluid, airy and virtuosically unhurried. Chords drift in and out as weightless as a Calder mobile, constantly reframing the space around them, and 30 seconds of silence can pass without any sense of alarm. There are tiny storms of tension and release, but the Zen acceptance that underpins Cage’s late works is what really lingers.