The following compares the 2 titled pieces to Erik Satie's music that has melody.
A modal composition, the patterns alternate between a mode in B and a mode in G. With the use of both the soft and sustain pedals, Cage creates music that seems to suspend time. There is clearly an aesthetic indebtedness to Erik Satie. The score notes that the piece may be played on the harp or piano. It is adapted here for marimba.
In Dream, In a Landscape, Souvenir and Suite for Toy Piano, Cage rings a variation on this technique. The chords, rattles, and gongs are reduced to single tones, all falling within a mere or less conventional scale or mode. The pedal sustains the tones and adds resonance in the two compositions for piano (ad libitum in Dream, throughout the length of In a Landscape).
Lying somewhere between the prepared piano music and the modal, quasi-tonal writing of Dream, or, rather, overlapping both, Music for Marcel Duchamp, written for an animated film sequence, evokes (without quoting) both the timbre and the harmony of certain Asian musical traditions – static, meditative, and timeless.
- Brian Olewnick wrote:
The work's relative astringency contrasts well with the preceding feast — the entire disc is sequenced very nicely — and leads into one of the special highlights of the recording, the 1948 composition, "Dream". At this point in Cage's career, one can still hear misty echoes of his preoccupation with Balinese gamelan, though that music has been diffused into a general atmosphere that's, well, dreamy. Beautifully performed by Ottaviucci and Scodanibbio, the piano lines also carry a Satie-like flavor, melodic and nostalgic, underlined by the bass' deep, somber arco. It's an extremely evocative piece, one that admirers of the Sonatas and Interludes for Piano will love.