It seems fitting that the penultimate concert of the Los Angeles Festival's Cage Celebration was devoted to percussion music. Cage, after all, has always marched to the beat of a different drummer.
Actually, somewhere around 1950, his march turned into more of a mosey. The changes in pace and direction of Cage's musical journey were quite apparent in "Percussion: That Unexpected Touch," at the Tom Bradley Theatre Friday evening.
For vigorous, purposeful thumping, there was the "Third Construction," from 1941. A big, wondrously scored work, "Third Construction" reminds us just how trivial are the rhythmic games most modern minimalists play. Members of the Canadian ensemble Nexus gave it an intense, well-nigh pulse-perfect performance.
The local Repercussion Unit also had an effective, energetic vehicle from the same year. "Double Music"--co-composed by Lou Harrison--is a shorter, less expansively scored effort, but every bit as stimulating and clearly propelled as "Third Construction."