Somewhere recently, and I’ve forgotten where, I read an essay by a Cage fan so avid that he had gone to some trouble to secure a recording of the piece Quantitäten (1958) by the Swedish composer Bo Nilsson, just because of a joking reference Cage had made to it. In his lecture “Composition as Process,” Cage repeats over and over at intervals, as kind of a refrain, the question, “Would you like to hear Quantitäten by Bo Nilsson whether it’s performed for the first time or not?” I chuckled, because I’ve always, thanks to Cage, had a humorous association with that piece myself, though I didn’t remember having ever heard it.
Well, I’ve been wallowing naked in all my old vinyl lately, and I ran across Quantitäten on a record of Scandinavian piano music played by Elisabeth Klein. I disremember whether Fanfare sent me the disc for review, or whether I bought it for Per Nørgard’s powerful and imaginative Second Sonata on the flip side (I used to be a big Nørgard fan, but we don’t hear much about him in the U.S. these days). The liner notes mention that Quantitäten contains 85 different time-values; I have no earthly idea why the composer would consider this important. In any case, others may have a similar curiosity, which I feel compelled to gratify. And so:
Would you like to hear Quantitäten by Bo Nilsson whether it’s uploaded for the first time or not? If so, click here.