*2022 stock* This recording deals with works composed between 1944 and 1958, including several of Cage's lovely and masterful prepared piano pieces, which will come as a major surprise to those familiar only with his chance compositions. Joshua Pierce is the principal pianist (assisted by Dorothy Jonas on the Three Dances, written for two pianos) and attacks the pieces with a nice balance of delicacy and aggression, although compared to the earlier Angel recording of the abovementioned Three Dances, one sometimes wishes for a bit more ferocity. But it's the works themselves that shine here with their auras of Southeast Asia, especially Bali. The rhythms are rich and complex and, unexpectedly for Cage, there are hummable melodies here and there, as in the gorgeous Daughters of the Lonesome Isle, which, along with the equally beguiling Mysterious Adventure, here receives its first recording. Although other composers were investigating gamelan music at around the same time, it's easy to hear the influence these pieces had, especially rhythmically, on contemporaries like Lou Harrison and Harry Partch. Perhaps even more surprising is the (unprepared) piano song Dream, where Cage summons the spirit of Erik Satie in a beautiful, languid line that wanders a luxurious path through its seven minutes. The Three Dances that close out the disc are amazing romps through the prepared piano thicket, redolent of Balinese street fairs, bustling city life, and the love of rhythmic sound. If not quite as overwhelming as the Michael Tilson Thomas/Ralph Grierson versions from 1973, they are still an absolute joy to hear. This volume is a perfect entry point for the listener who may have previously been scared away from Cage. Nothing to fear here, only sublime music.