Thursday, May 27, 2010
New book about John Cage’s 4’33”
For the uninitiated, the composition called 4’33” was first performed in 1952 by pianist David Tudor in an open air theater in Woodstock, NY. Tudor did not play the piano, however, because the piece requires the musician and any musical instrument present to remain silent during the titular duration of the performance. An audience that is prepared for this will also remain, if not silent, at least respectfully quiet. As the title of the book suggests, the experience yields something other than silence. What they hear is whatever random noises the environment of the venue provides. Audiences that were not prepared for this have been known to react less charitably.