File spoon-archives/nietzsche.archive/nietzsche_1995/nietzsche_Nov9.95, message 51

Date: Thu, 16 Nov 1995 21:38:01 -0800
Subject: Re: Music, Nietzsche, Rhythm

>Well, since Cage was mentioned: Cage's claim is that there is no 
>such thing as silence; that even in an anechoic chamber one hears the
>sounds of one's heartbeat, breathing, etc.  His famous piece 4'33" 
>is a musical composition in 3 movements during which no sounds are 
>intentionally produced; the audience is presented with "silence" -- 
>which, of course, is full of environmetal sounds.  The most common way 
>of performing this piece is with a piano; the performer sits at the piano 
>for 4 minus and 33 seconds, signaling the end of each movement with
>some gesture such as a movement of the arms. 

A John Cage anecdote, of sorts, which I heard from an old art teacher
of mine, William Cumming, at the Cornish School of Allied Arts (now
the Cornish Institute) here in Seattle.  Cage, who had been either a
music student or teacher at Cornish, or both, put on a "recital"
there.  Cumming attended it with Morris Graves, the famous Northwest
painter. They were seated in the middle of the Little Theatre at
Cornish and Cage was going about his thing of just generally creating
an odd and strange assortment of noises on stage.  After about 15
minutes of this, Graves decided to join in and started generating his
own assortment of odd and strange noises.  The ushers asked him to be
quiet, which he refused to do.  He continued to generate _his_ noises.
They asked him again.  He still refused.  Finally, they asked him to
leave, which he also refused to do.  At which point they grabbed him,
picked him up, and carried him bodily from the theatre, continuing to
make loud, raucous noises all the way.  Carrying him out was no easy
feat in that Graves was at least 6'4" tall.  Cumming, loudly
protesting all this, was himself also dragged bodily from the theatre,
as well.  He did manage, however, to turn and slug one of the ushers
before being finally ejected.  Cumming said he was banned from the
building from that day until the school hired him as a teacher.

Undoubtedly, one of Cage's best performances.

            Steven E. Callihan --

            "Some lies are so well disguised to resemble truth, 
      that we should be poor judges of the truth not to believe them."

                           --La Rochefoucauld


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