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Work Title
Freeman Etudes I - XVI
Alt. Title
Freeman Etudes
Alt. Title
Freeman Etudes, Books 1 and 2
Books 1 and 2 composed between 1977 and 1980. Premiered in Zurich, June 29, 1991.
Ensemble Type
For solo violin.
This work comprises four books, each containing eight etudes. Cage used tracings of star charts to determine rhythm and pitch, and I Ching chance operations for all other parameters, i.e. bowing style, dynamics, durations, microtones, etc. The etudes are written in an extremely detailed way, with nearly every aspect of sound and sound-production specified for each note. Thus, they are extremely difficult to perform. In performing them, Cage asked that the player simply try to play as many notes as possible. It was Cage's purpose to make these etudes as difficult as possible in compliance with the dictum behind this composition, i.e. "Practicality of the impossible". The first 16 etudes were composed in collaboration with Paul Zukofsky during the years 1977 to 1980. Cage left them unfinished for nine years, but after hearing a performance of them by Irvine Arditti, he continued his work in 1989-90, greatly assisted by James Pritchett, who reconstructed the compositional process from Cage's notes and worksheets. (See 'Manuscripts': JPB 75-3 Folder 647).
Betty Freeman
Peters Edition EP 66813a/b