Boomkat Product Review:
Jeff Witscher and Jack Callahan’s Flea label kick off with a thrilling recording of Petr Kotik and Joseph Kubera leading the Orchestra of the S.E.M. Ensemble in a 2019 interpretation of John Cage’s 60 year old indeterminate work.
Cage’s ‘concert for piano and orchestra & fontana mix’ (1957-58) surely serves as a strong conceptual anchor for the FLEA label alongside their maiden releases from Julius Eastman, and a zinger from Witscher/Callahan themselves. The original work’s score of 10 sheets of paper and 12 transparencies, which are meant to be overlaid to create myriad possibilities of guidance, are intended to lead the players to rupturous results that prize unpredictability.
This 2019 performance, conducted by Petr Kotik with Joseph Kubera (piano) and the Orchestra of the S.E.M. Ensemble, combines the parts written for both Cage’s concert for piano and orchestra, and Fontana mix, as the composer suggested they could be, to create a bewildering and fractious take on a real 20th century avant garde touchstone, whose echoes can be heard in the elusive mischief of Witscher/Callhan’s own work.
Stunning, weird gear.