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Re: John Cage [Re: wr] #1528776
10/05/10 03:15 PM
10/05/10 03:15 PM
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 2,047
Minneapolis, Minnesota
tomasino Offline
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Originally Posted by wr

Hey, Rip van Winkle! It's way past time to wake up and smell the coffee! Cage's work (along with a lot of other avant-garde stuff from his era) has already been "validated" for decades now. Composers who are themselves already in their gray-haired years have said how indebted they are to him - John Adams, for example.




Hi WR,

I like the reference to Rip, but I must say that Alex Ross, for one, doesn’t agree with you in the article under discussion, nor does Kyle Gann, who recently published "No Such Thing as Silence: John Cage's "4'33"." Here's a quote from Ross early in the article, who cites Gann, and then asserts his own opinion as to just how wide the circle of validation within classical music is.

"Nearly six decades after the work came into the world, "4'33"' is still dismissed as 'absolutely ridiculous,' 'stupid,' 'a gimmick,' and the 'emperor's new clothes'--to quote some sample putdowns that Gann extracted from an online comment board. Such judgments are especially common within classical music, where Cage, who died in 1992, remains an object of widespread scorn."

I’m in the great majority on this, WR, and feel very comfortable residing here. I don’t believe the glad-handing of composers saying nice things about one another is a substitute for the too easily ignored audience and their assessment. Just so you understand, I play piano a bit, and I’m a sometime participant on Piano World, but mostly, my participation in music is as part of the audience. And in that capacity I’ve looked around, I’ve asked around, and being that I take myself seriously as an observant person, I've reached some conclusions--all my opinion, of course. The usual audience reaction to the avant garde composers of the cold war period is a raising of the eyebrows combined with a wry smile. Audience members are polite, ridiculously tolerant, and they don’t say much—but it’s clear; they don’t particularly like the avant garde of this period, and they don’t accept it either. A fair number silently, and a few noisily, take offense.

And why shouldn't they? Classical composers of this period, and up until quite recently, were writing music in defiance of audience likes and dislikes. They were sometimes very open about their distaste for audience. Milton Babbitt, considered to be a major composer of the era, wrote a highly influential and widely read article in "Hi-Fi Magazine" in 1957, headlined "Who Cares if You Listen." You can easily find it on line, but I’ll just quote a little from the article to give you a taste and make my point:

"I dare suggest that the composer would do himself and his music an immediate and eventual service by total, resolute and voluntary withdrawal from this public world to one of private performance and electronic media, with its very real possibility of COMPLETE ELIMINATION OF THE PUBLIC AND SOCIAL ASPECTS OF MUSICAL COMPOSITION." (emphasis mine).

Need further evidence or citation? My post is already getting long, but read Ross's other writings--on the goings on at Darmstadt during denazification, for instance, read of Stockhausen, Boulez and Krenek and other composers of this era, who thought there was something wrong if an audience liked their music. And if some composers didn’t overtly subscribe to this attitude, they were driven out of Darmstadt, and ostracised like a skeptic in a fundamentalist church. Boulez wrote that they were “useless.” Ross covers it all.

Getting back to Cage and 4’33”? What, really, is the statement here? Is it about aesthetics? Is it really about the subtleties of silence, about “silence vs. noise?” about “framing” the ambient noise to make it into a coherent composition? Is 4’33” somehow significant as a “tombstone for the silence” of some distant past? Are we really fascinated that Cage became “interested in the interchange of silence and noise,” as some critic has proclaimed?

No! No! None of these comes close to the answer, although they may be vaguely true in a "so-what" kind of way. It’s like saying Chopin is about fingering in a loud an pompous voice.

These answers are an evasion of what is perfectly obvious. It is so perfectly obvious that I'm amazed people don't say it right off the bat. This piece is about audience. It is decisively so, aggresively so, provocatively so, yes, even contemptously so. It is more overtly so than anything Milton Babbitt ever dreamed of.

It is about setting an audience up to be insulted--to get them to attend a concert, and then to have them sit in a trusting state of incomprehension, in a willingness to be tolerant, in a willingness to listen, in a willingness to withhold judgement, and in an unwillingness to believe that someone said to be highly regarded as an artist by his peers, would ask them to waste their time by seriously listening to nonsense. Gullible? Yes. The audience deserves better.

And the performers! Why does even one of them sit still for it? Ask yourself, after having spent years learning how to play--to play perhaps a magnificent Bach Fugue or a Rochmaninoff Concerto--is performing silently what you trained for? In other Cage pieces, is performing with a tuba on your head what you trained for? Did you practice for all those hours to play on a toy piano, or with a rubber duck? Is this fulfilling? Performers, too, deserve better.

And so WR, eventhough I take offense at Cage, I don’t mind at all being addressed as Rip Van Winkle, and I happily admit to being one of the graybeards on Piano Forum. But it shouldn’t be held against me, as my age has enabled me to achieve some wisdom--a certain kind of no-nonsense wisdom. I haven’t been asleep.

Tomasino






"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do so with all thy might." Ecclesiastes 9:10

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Re: John Cage [Re: Andromaque] #1528796
10/05/10 03:43 PM
10/05/10 03:43 PM
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Erik Satie wrote background music for a party once. Musicians were stationed in corners of the room and play music while the guest were to continue with their conversations and socializing. It was unsuccessful. When the musicians played, the guests would stop what they were doing and listen, and Satie would tell them that no, they should continue with what they were doing, and the music should remain in the background.

Today most people music the way Satie imagined. Music forms a background for everything that they do, through Muzak, iPods, radios, televisions, and many other sources. There may come a time when people will pay money not to have to listen to anything. Will that cause a reassessment of 4' 33"?

Prepared piano already deserves reassessment. Cage said that he wrote for it originally when he was writing for a dance troupe and did not have the wherewithal for percussionists. If you listen to his prepared piano pieces with that in mind, you see that they are percussion pieces which are played on a piano. Perhaps this is not so revolutionary. After all, organs were used to imitate all sorts of instruments during the silent film era. However, we must reevaluate this trend now that all sorts of instruments are imitated on electronic keyboards.

There are some people who are extremely sensitive listeners: Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Hermeto Pascual, Benny Green, Martin Clevinger, to name a few who are well-known in the music world. John Cage was undoubtedly one as well. Such people are more aware of sound than the average person. You can learn a lot from them. They can make your appreciation of music much greater.


Semipro Tech
Re: John Cage [Re: wr] #1528926
10/05/10 06:52 PM
10/05/10 06:52 PM
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Originally Posted by wr
Originally Posted by tomasino
It will be interesting to see if other taste makers and purveyors of musical opinion will pile on in support of Ross’s validation of Cage.



Hey, Rip van Winkle! It's way past time to wake up and smell the coffee! Cage's work (along with a lot of other avant-garde stuff from his era) has already been "validated" for decades now. Composers who are themselves already in their gray-haired years have said how indebted they are to him - John Adams, for example.



Well sure, there's all that affirmation from countless composers and artists, but the real question is: what about the multitudes who enjoy skimming over New Yorker articles on the can? If too many "taste makers" write essays "validating" the 1950s avant-garde, and a few more people start admiring it, what will become of our holy classical tradition? smile

Re: John Cage [Re: Lemon Pledge] #1528984
10/05/10 08:05 PM
10/05/10 08:05 PM
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 3,886
New York
Andromaque Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Lemon Pledge

If too many "taste makers" write essays "validating" the 1950s avant-garde, and a few more people start admiring it, what will become of our holy classical tradition? smile


it will become even holier than thou.. obviously.. smile

Speaking of music (?noise, less silence), there was a picture in the paper today of a few members of the NY Philharmonic "foraging" at a junk yard nearby, looking for tools to perform our composer-in-residence, Magnus Lindberg's piece, "Kraft". Apparently the tradition for this piece, premiered in the 80s, is for percussionists to perform on stuff they pick from a local junkyard. The sound has to be local
Note that the pianist has also been recruited to join the percussionists, since the piano is a percussion instrument..

I have never listened to Kraft, but I have feeling I might prefer 4'33''..


Last edited by Andromaque; 10/05/10 08:08 PM.
Re: John Cage [Re: izaldu] #1529157
10/06/10 03:10 AM
10/06/10 03:10 AM
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Originally Posted by izaldu
wr, i did not create the discussion in the first place. to me there is no discussion, silence alone is not music, period. that is my point, i am not discussing the musical value of 4.33, because to me there is none. if 4.33 was signed my some unknown pop singer it would be taken as a joke. but if it s "written" by cage, then it means something. also , enlighten me as to what i am supposed to "understand" in musical terms in a piece that has no music in it, no sounds, nothing.

maybe it is a philosophical statement, or whatever you want to call it, i don't care. musically it is nihil. anyone has ever bought a cd with 4.33 and played the track? i thought music is to be performed or listened to. neither are the case with a piece like 4.33. that is the only aspect in which 4.33 is unique compared to any other music work: you cannot listen to it and you cannot perform it.

i will now get back to my 1200 blank page novel that i am enjoying so much. then i ll walk to the nearest museum to watch wallpaint dry.


As always, the composer of the music is the one who decides what the music is. In this case, Cage composed a piece in which whatever sounds the listener perceives within a series of set durations of time is the music (and unless totally deaf,they will hear something - it is impossible not to). Sound + duration = music. That is the essential nature of all music.

You can deny it all you want, but you didn't compose the piece, so you cannot undo the music by simply by saying it isn't music. It is music, regardless of what you think about it. After all, art, whether it is visual or musical or whatever, is not some process whereby the consumer votes on whether it really is art. It is the artist who decides that.




Re: John Cage [Re: tomasino] #1529166
10/06/10 03:43 AM
10/06/10 03:43 AM
Joined: Nov 2007
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Originally Posted by tomasino

Originally Posted by wr

Hey, Rip van Winkle! It's way past time to wake up and smell the coffee! Cage's work (along with a lot of other avant-garde stuff from his era) has already been "validated" for decades now. Composers who are themselves already in their gray-haired years have said how indebted they are to him - John Adams, for example.




Hi WR,

I like the reference to Rip, but I must say that Alex Ross, for one, doesn’t agree with you in the article under discussion, nor does Kyle Gann, who recently published "No Such Thing as Silence: John Cage's "4'33"." Here's a quote from Ross early in the article, who cites Gann, and then asserts his own opinion as to just how wide the circle of validation within classical music is.

"Nearly six decades after the work came into the world, "4'33"' is still dismissed as 'absolutely ridiculous,' 'stupid,' 'a gimmick,' and the 'emperor's new clothes'--to quote some sample putdowns that Gann extracted from an online comment board. Such judgments are especially common within classical music, where Cage, who died in 1992, remains an object of widespread scorn."

I’m in the great majority on this, WR, and feel very comfortable residing here. I don’t believe the glad-handing of composers saying nice things about one another is a substitute for the too easily ignored audience and their assessment. Just so you understand, I play piano a bit, and I’m a sometime participant on Piano World, but mostly, my participation in music is as part of the audience. And in that capacity I’ve looked around, I’ve asked around, and being that I take myself seriously as an observant person, I've reached some conclusions--all my opinion, of course. The usual audience reaction to the avant garde composers of the cold war period is a raising of the eyebrows combined with a wry smile. Audience members are polite, ridiculously tolerant, and they don’t say much—but it’s clear; they don’t particularly like the avant garde of this period, and they don’t accept it either. A fair number silently, and a few noisily, take offense.

And why shouldn't they? Classical composers of this period, and up until quite recently, were writing music in defiance of audience likes and dislikes. They were sometimes very open about their distaste for audience. Milton Babbitt, considered to be a major composer of the era, wrote a highly influential and widely read article in "Hi-Fi Magazine" in 1957, headlined "Who Cares if You Listen." You can easily find it on line, but I’ll just quote a little from the article to give you a taste and make my point:

"I dare suggest that the composer would do himself and his music an immediate and eventual service by total, resolute and voluntary withdrawal from this public world to one of private performance and electronic media, with its very real possibility of COMPLETE ELIMINATION OF THE PUBLIC AND SOCIAL ASPECTS OF MUSICAL COMPOSITION." (emphasis mine).

Need further evidence or citation? My post is already getting long, but read Ross's other writings--on the goings on at Darmstadt during denazification, for instance, read of Stockhausen, Boulez and Krenek and other composers of this era, who thought there was something wrong if an audience liked their music. And if some composers didn’t overtly subscribe to this attitude, they were driven out of Darmstadt, and ostracised like a skeptic in a fundamentalist church. Boulez wrote that they were “useless.” Ross covers it all.

Getting back to Cage and 4’33”? What, really, is the statement here? Is it about aesthetics? Is it really about the subtleties of silence, about “silence vs. noise?” about “framing” the ambient noise to make it into a coherent composition? Is 4’33” somehow significant as a “tombstone for the silence” of some distant past? Are we really fascinated that Cage became “interested in the interchange of silence and noise,” as some critic has proclaimed?

No! No! None of these comes close to the answer, although they may be vaguely true in a "so-what" kind of way. It’s like saying Chopin is about fingering in a loud an pompous voice.

These answers are an evasion of what is perfectly obvious. It is so perfectly obvious that I'm amazed people don't say it right off the bat. This piece is about audience. It is decisively so, aggresively so, provocatively so, yes, even contemptously so. It is more overtly so than anything Milton Babbitt ever dreamed of.

It is about setting an audience up to be insulted--to get them to attend a concert, and then to have them sit in a trusting state of incomprehension, in a willingness to be tolerant, in a willingness to listen, in a willingness to withhold judgement, and in an unwillingness to believe that someone said to be highly regarded as an artist by his peers, would ask them to waste their time by seriously listening to nonsense. Gullible? Yes. The audience deserves better.

And the performers! Why does even one of them sit still for it? Ask yourself, after having spent years learning how to play--to play perhaps a magnificent Bach Fugue or a Rochmaninoff Concerto--is performing silently what you trained for? In other Cage pieces, is performing with a tuba on your head what you trained for? Did you practice for all those hours to play on a toy piano, or with a rubber duck? Is this fulfilling? Performers, too, deserve better.

And so WR, eventhough I take offense at Cage, I don’t mind at all being addressed as Rip Van Winkle, and I happily admit to being one of the graybeards on Piano Forum. But it shouldn’t be held against me, as my age has enabled me to achieve some wisdom--a certain kind of no-nonsense wisdom. I haven’t been asleep.

Tomasino



I am quite aware that lots of people, including some musicians, still don't get Cage. So what? Art isn't a popularity contest. There are also lots of musicians, especially composers, who do appreciate him and his work. If you want to be one of the ones who doesn't, fine. It's your loss.

You can congratulate yourself until the cows come home, but you are still wrong about Cage and 4'33". If you were only half as wise as you seem to think you are, you would know better than to make up blatant lies about the motivations of composers. Yeah, yeah, I know - if you were the one who wrote 4'33", those would be your sad and small-minded intentions. But guess what?...you didn't write it and your concept of the motivation behind it is entirely about you, and it has nothing to do with John Cage nor about his attitudes about people or music. But it sure does have a lot to do about you.

Re: John Cage [Re: wr] #1529167
10/06/10 03:43 AM
10/06/10 03:43 AM
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izaldu Offline
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It is the artist who decides what is art? I think that is one of the main problems today. That anyone can "create" anything and call it art.

Like i said, if i wrote 4.34, would you accept it as art? Better or worse than Cage's piece?. But John Cage is a big name. That's all.

If 4.33 is music, then i can claim "nothing" is a sculpture. Make an exhibition with empty gallery rooms, see if any of the "sculptures" sell.

Like i said, i like quite a bit the stuff i ve heard from Cage.
Last night , after reading you guys , i again listened to the prep piano Sonatas, , 5 and 12. 5 is , i agree, pretty much a percussion piece. Clever, but i don t see thta much point in it. The 12th i enjoyed much more; very interesting piano music.
But 4:33 ...

Re: John Cage [Re: izaldu] #1529178
10/06/10 04:38 AM
10/06/10 04:38 AM
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Originally Posted by izaldu
It is the artist who decides what is art? I think that is one of the main problems today. That anyone can "create" anything and call it art.



Well, if not the artist, who the heck else is going to create it?

Quote


Like i said, if i wrote 4.34, would you accept it as art?



No. And I am sure you can figure out why without me going to the trouble of explaining it.

Quote



Better or worse than Cage's piece?. But John Cage is a big name. That's all.



No, that's not all. And when Cage wrote the piece, he was far from being a "big name".

Quote



If 4.33 is music, then i can claim "nothing" is a sculpture. Make an exhibition with empty gallery rooms, see if any of the "sculptures" sell.



That analogy doesn't work, because, unlike our hearing, your eyes will not see various things happening in the empty space. But if you listen to 4'33", you will hear something other than silence.

Quote


Like i said, i like quite a bit the stuff i ve heard from Cage.
Last night , after reading you guys , i again listened to the prep piano Sonatas, , 5 and 12. 5 is , i agree, pretty much a percussion piece. Clever, but i don t see thta much point in it. The 12th i enjoyed much more; very interesting piano music.
But 4:33 ...


The early stuff is nice. Williams Mix for tape is fantastic and more interesting each time I hear it...



Re: John Cage [Re: Andromaque] #1529192
10/06/10 05:32 AM
10/06/10 05:32 AM
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Thanks for the Williams Mix wr,

At the end of the tape I was glad to know that it wasn’t my eyesight which had gone on the blink ... but don’t you think you’re beating a dead horse? ... the ghost of John Cage must be delighting in the free publicity .

Re: John Cage [Re: btb] #1529208
10/06/10 06:12 AM
10/06/10 06:12 AM
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Originally Posted by btb
Thanks for the Williams Mix wr,

At the end of the tape I was glad to know that it wasn’t my eyesight which had gone on the blink ... but don’t you think you’re beating a dead horse? ... the ghost of John Cage must be delighting in the free publicity .


As the ghosts of all the dead composers whose music we discuss must delight in the free publicity, right? But no, this horse is far from dead (you may not know this, but the world of classical music is actually far larger than what meets the eye here at PW).


Re: John Cage [Re: Andromaque] #1529258
10/06/10 07:28 AM
10/06/10 07:28 AM
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Wr, I never said an artist can t create anything and call it "art", What i said is that not anything an artist creates must be considered art. What i see on 4.33 is an empty score.

"That analogy doesn't work, because, unlike our hearing, your eyes will not see various things happening in the empty space. But if you listen to 4'33", you will hear something other than silence.

Analogy works exactly the same, in my opinion. You will see something other than nothing. You always do. I really don't know where you a re going ... guess we will not agree on this!

I can´t hear the tube clip now, but will do later - thanks for the heads up.

Re: John Cage [Re: wr] #1529447
10/06/10 11:59 AM
10/06/10 11:59 AM
Joined: Mar 2005
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Minneapolis, Minnesota
tomasino Offline
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Quoting WR,

"...Art isn't a popularity contest...."

"...you are still wrong about Cage and 4'33". If you were...wise..., you would know better ... about the motivations of composers...."


WR,
I agree that art is not a popularity contest in a trivial sense. "What is art?," and who deems it so is a very important question to everybody involved in the arts.

I assume from the second quote above, that you're referring to the paragraph where I assert that 4'33" is about audience, as it's the strongest and most pointed opinion I wrote. Regardless of Cage's intended meaning of the piece, the piece has a meaning of its own both socially and individually. I think it's clear that I was asserting my opinion as to what one possible statement of the work is to many people, particularly to the larger concert going audience. If my writing was unclear, I apologize.

As to my personal integrity in making the statement, I readily admit to having strongly stated my opinion--and I signed my name as well, "thereby putting it into its proper context. Anyone reading it knows from that context that I'm expressing my opinion. I don't see it as necessary to use a smiley face or "IMHO" every time I write my opinion. That would be boring, and it weakens my statement. Further, I see nothing deceitful in how I have expressed myself, nor in the opinion itself.

If you disagree with my opinion, take me on. Please. What's your opinion? If you have something more convincing than what I've read so far in this thread, maybe I'll change my mind.

Respectfully,
Tomasino










"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do so with all thy might." Ecclesiastes 9:10

Re: John Cage [Re: tomasino] #1529808
10/06/10 10:16 PM
10/06/10 10:16 PM
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Originally Posted by tomasino
What's your opinion?


My opinion is that a person who slanders the intent of a serious composer is not really worth expending much energy on.

Bye.


Re: John Cage [Re: Andromaque] #1529815
10/06/10 10:35 PM
10/06/10 10:35 PM
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something large that i think should be stressed in relation to 4' 33" is that it is not silent, but the sounds of your immediate environment. isn't that amazing, to /anybody/? this one piece can encompass the entire sounds past and present, of the entire world depending on where it is performed! it forces us to unplug our ipods and really listen carefully - i think that is something to be commended!

aleatoric composition is something that is very much ACCEPTED, and yes, it is music.


repertoire for the moment:
bach: prelude and fugue in b-, book i (WTC)
mozart - sonata in D+, k. 576
schumann (transc. liszt) - widmung
coulthard - image astrale
Re: John Cage [Re: tomasino] #1529820
10/06/10 10:50 PM
10/06/10 10:50 PM
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Originally Posted by tomasino

These answers are an evasion of what is perfectly obvious. It is so perfectly obvious that I'm amazed people don't say it right off the bat. This piece is about audience. It is decisively so, aggresively so, provocatively so, yes, even contemptously so. It is more overtly so than anything Milton Babbitt ever dreamed of.

It is about setting an audience up to be insulted--to get them to attend a concert, and then to have them sit in a trusting state of incomprehension, in a willingness to be tolerant, in a willingness to listen, in a willingness to withhold judgement, and in an unwillingness to believe that someone said to be highly regarded as an artist by his peers, would ask them to waste their time by seriously listening to nonsense. Gullible? Yes. The audience deserves better.

And the performers! Why does even one of them sit still for it? Ask yourself, after having spent years learning how to play--to play perhaps a magnificent Bach Fugue or a Rochmaninoff Concerto--is performing silently what you trained for? In other Cage pieces, is performing with a tuba on your head what you trained for? Did you practice for all those hours to play on a toy piano, or with a rubber duck? Is this fulfilling? Performers, too, deserve better.

And so WR, eventhough I take offense at Cage, I don’t mind at all being addressed as Rip Van Winkle, and I happily admit to being one of the graybeards on Piano Forum. But it shouldn’t be held against me, as my age has enabled me to achieve some wisdom--a certain kind of no-nonsense wisdom. I haven’t been asleep.

Tomasino
I don't mind your post, but I just highlighted a few words and phrases.

4'33" is one of the usual occasions where people actually take offense not only at a work (which for silence is doing great at that), but also at the composer, which seems rather amazing!

This is getting tiresome. I haven't bought a CD with 4'33" of course, and I haven't attended a concert with that on the program, I don't see the point right now. But I still try to stay away from slundering a composer...

Re: John Cage [Re: Andromaque] #1529825
10/06/10 11:00 PM
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Sometimes when I hear of the avante garde and their compositions, I wonder what happened to the audience as part of the music? I know in 4'33" the audience literally is given the chance to make the music, but where has musical enjoyment by the public gone? Is the role to make enjoyable music for the public that of the mainstream music industry?


Working on:
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Re: John Cage [Re: Andromaque] #1529828
10/06/10 11:09 PM
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I find that the batting average for good new music is about the same no matter what the genre. There is poor music in pop, jazz, folk, classical, whatever, and that predominates. Some of that might find some success with some people. There is some better music which might appeal to a wider audience, and last a bit longer, and there is some great music which has real legs.

4' 33" certainly has legs as a philosophical statement about music; otherwise nobody would be as impassioned about it as can be seen here. That is true of some of Cage's other works. He also wrote great pieces of music.


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Re: John Cage [Re: Kuanpiano] #1529879
10/07/10 12:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Kuanpiano
Sometimes when I hear of the avante garde and their compositions, I wonder what happened to the audience as part of the music? I know in 4'33" the audience literally is given the chance to make the music, but where has musical enjoyment by the public gone? Is the role to make enjoyable music for the public that of the mainstream music industry?


If music is interesting, I enjoy it. For me anyway, music being interesting doesn't necessarily have to include the composer attempting to please me. If composers write music that they find genuinely interesting, just for themselves, it will likely also interest me.


Re: John Cage [Re: Andromaque] #1529885
10/07/10 01:03 AM
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I think people tend to get aggravated with Cage because they feel that "the Emperor has no clothes". That it's all a bunch of BS stunts, the prepared pianos and radio randomness. And 4'33", of course. I used to think this way.

Then I started listening to his Sonatas and Interludes for prepared piano, and I realized what a great revolutionary musical mind Cage has! I may not really understand what he was trying to do with 4'33", and I haven't made an effort to understand (through reading his works, for example). But I no longer mock or scorn Cage. There's something there, and it's a display of real musical intelligence and bravery...

-Jason


Beethoven op.110, Chopin op.27/2, Liszt Vallée d'Obermann
Re: John Cage [Re: izaldu] #1529889
10/07/10 01:08 AM
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Originally Posted by izaldu
Wr, I never said an artist can t create anything and call it "art", What i said is that not anything an artist creates must be considered art. What i see on 4.33 is an empty score.

"That analogy doesn't work, because, unlike our hearing, your eyes will not see various things happening in the empty space. But if you listen to 4'33", you will hear something other than silence.

Analogy works exactly the same, in my opinion. You will see something other than nothing. You always do. I really don't know where you a re going ... guess we will not agree on this!

I can´t hear the tube clip now, but will do later - thanks for the heads up.


If you want a visual analogy, it might be better to use the thing that inspired Cage himself - Rauschenberg's white paintings, which are canvases painted white.

I don't know if you really care enough about all this to listen, but if you do, this radio commentary from NPR in the US might explain it better than I have.



Re: John Cage [Re: Andromaque] #1529893
10/07/10 01:16 AM
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This thread is proving my point - to me anyway. What an interesting and diverse reaction a thread on Cage has elicited! Even the people who dislike his music (or dislike whatever else about him) do their disliking in different ways.

If there was a serious thread on some other board about me, it would be very different: the likes would be all about the same, the dislikes would be all about the same, and there would be a total of two posts on each side of the discussion, every one of them lukewarm in tone. Except the one from my mother. smile


(I'm a piano teacher.)
Re: John Cage [Re: Andromaque] #1529895
10/07/10 01:22 AM
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I wonder if anyone bothered to listen to the link I posted to the Litany for the Whale. Any comments about it?


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Re: John Cage [Re: BDB] #1529901
10/07/10 01:39 AM
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Originally Posted by BDB
I wonder if anyone bothered to listen to the link I posted to the Litany for the Whale. Any comments about it?

It is, indeed, very beautiful.

Unfortunately, the link you provided only gave one minute of the twenty-five minute piece. And that was too short to determine if the beauty was due to the composer, or merely arose from the beautiful singing voice, if you know what I mean.

But, yes, yet another dimension to Cage. I completely agree with your statement about getting past 4'33".


-Jason


Beethoven op.110, Chopin op.27/2, Liszt Vallée d'Obermann
Re: John Cage [Re: Andromaque] #1529911
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You have to click on the icon for the entire show, not the link to the recording. There is a short piece before you get the Cage, but the entire piece is there.


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Re: John Cage [Re: wr] #1529953
10/07/10 02:48 AM
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Originally Posted by wr
My opinion is that a person who slanders the intent of a serious composer is not really worth expending much energy on.
1. I take Cage seriously, most of the time.

2. The fact that a composer takes his work seriously does not oblige me to do the same. I know quite a number of people who take worthless work very seriously indeed. Seriousness of intent does not automatically equal worthwhile work.


(I'm a piano teacher.)
Re: John Cage [Re: Andromaque] #1529967
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Conversely, if a composer does not take his work seriously, the audience may want to take it seriously. Elsewhere, people are discussing Fossils from Carnival of the Animals, a tongue in cheek piece in which the composer spoofs one of his own works, both of which remain popular parts of the repertoire to this day.


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Re: John Cage [Re: david_a] #1529985
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Originally Posted by david_a
Originally Posted by wr
My opinion is that a person who slanders the intent of a serious composer is not really worth expending much energy on.
1. I take Cage seriously, most of the time.

2. The fact that a composer takes his work seriously does not oblige me to do the same. I know quite a number of people who take worthless work very seriously indeed. Seriousness of intent does not automatically equal worthwhile work.


How marvelous for you, to know the real value of all music, while those you know have to suffer worthless music in ignorance.

Regardless, your response wasn't about what I posted, which was about malign misrepresentation of a composer's intent, regardless of worth.


Last edited by wr; 10/07/10 03:49 AM.
Re: John Cage [Re: wr] #1529991
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Originally Posted by wr


If you want a visual analogy, it might be better to use the thing that inspired Cage himself - Rauschenberg's white paintings, which are canvases painted white


I love Yves Kleins YKB blue series. Sure they are monochromatic, but they are alluring. The simplicity of a piece of work should not detract from it's beauty. Ligeti wrote a fascinating metronome piece called symphonic poem for 100 metronomes. Well worth a look on you tube!

M


Oz Marcus
Currently working on:
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Chopin Prelude Op28 No 15, nocturne Op48 no 1
Bach Prelude & Fuge WTC II No 12 in F minor
Aspiring to Rautavaara - Piano Sonata 2 - Fire Sermon
Re: John Cage [Re: Nikolas] #1530335
10/07/10 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Nikolas
Originally Posted by tomasino

These answers are an evasion of what is perfectly obvious. It is so perfectly obvious that I'm amazed people don't say it right off the bat. This piece is about audience. It is decisively so, aggresively so, provocatively so, yes, even contemptously so. It is more overtly so than anything Milton Babbitt ever dreamed of.

It is about setting an audience up to be insulted--to get them to attend a concert, and then to have them sit in a trusting state of incomprehension, in a willingness to be tolerant, in a willingness to listen, in a willingness to withhold judgement, and in an unwillingness to believe that someone said to be highly regarded as an artist by his peers, would ask them to waste their time by seriously listening to nonsense. Gullible? Yes. The audience deserves better.

And the performers! Why does even one of them sit still for it? Ask yourself, after having spent years learning how to play--to play perhaps a magnificent Bach Fugue or a Rochmaninoff Concerto--is performing silently what you trained for? In other Cage pieces, is performing with a tuba on your head what you trained for? Did you practice for all those hours to play on a toy piano, or with a rubber duck? Is this fulfilling? Performers, too, deserve better.

And so WR, eventhough I take offense at Cage, I don’t mind at all being addressed as Rip Van Winkle, and I happily admit to being one of the graybeards on Piano Forum. But it shouldn’t be held against me, as my age has enabled me to achieve some wisdom--a certain kind of no-nonsense wisdom. I haven’t been asleep.

Tomasino
I don't mind your post, but I just highlighted a few words and phrases.

4'33" is one of the usual occasions where people actually take offense not only at a work (which for silence is doing great at that), but also at the composer, which seems rather amazing!

This is getting tiresome. I haven't bought a CD with 4'33" of course, and I haven't attended a concert with that on the program, I don't see the point right now. But I still try to stay away from slundering a composer...


Nikolas,

Thank you. Although I do understand you’re taking issue with me just a bit, still, I'm appreciative to have my strongest paragraph reposted right up there where everyone can readily read it again, or maybe read it for the first time. Hopefully they'll take a keener look. Perhaps they'll agree, too, that there was a recent period of music that was to some degree typified by composers who were overtly anti-audience, and question if this was a good thing for classical music.

To give some context, here's a quick review of what I think are the more salient points. Confining myself to the “cold war period,” I started with the anti-audience attitude exhibited at Darmstadt as early as 1947, then quoted Milton Babbitt, then cited the well documented bullying attitude of Boulez towards those who were not compliant, writing publicly that composers who were still composing tonally were "useless." I let it go at that, and then launched the paragraphs you've quoted above. I feel now that I should have asserted that this attitude had been gathering for a hundred years or more, and that it is the logical extension of “art for art’s sake.” I also suggested that doubtful readers might read Ross himself on the period. I'll be more specific this time: read Alex Ross, "the Rest is Noise," chapters 10 and 11. Background for my point of view is handled succinctly here in less than one-hundred pages. Also, the same information is scattered throughout Richard Taruskin's 5th volume of the "Oxford History of Western Music," "Music in the Late Twentieth Century." Solid ground is beneath my feet when I assert that some very influential composers adopted an anti-audience attitude. I feel it is an important issue, and performers and audiences ought to be aware of it.

For a number of reasons, the gathering of anti-audience forces came to a head in the cold war period, (I’ll be happy to go into my reasons for asserting this if anyone's curiosity is piqued). Anyway, there are many other examples I could have put forward, but I chose 4’33” as an obvious and egregious example. Because it was already under discussion, it provided an opportunity to write about an issue I've been mulling over for some time now.

I should end my response here, as you’ve indicated this is getting tiresome to you, and perhaps to others too, but you somewhat mildly suggest above that I “slandered” Cage. As this gives me pause and some discomfort, I feel you ought to hear me out: no lies were told, and no facts were fabricated, other than the strongly stated fact of my opinion. It’s clearly my opinion, as I signed my name. So it doesn’t qualify as the “gossip” kind of slander. Going on a bit, have I engaged in malicious intent? It’s a tough question, I take it seriously, and it needs to be parsed out. From my point of view, I asserted the fact of my opinion on the work of a man who willfully lived a public life. If others are thereby persuaded to think poorly of composer's who are anti-audience, then to that extent I’ve damaged Cage’s reputation, as well as the period's. Call it slander? If so, I’m sorry you feel that way. I disagree. Call it a too harshly negative criticism? OK, I'll accept that as your honest judgement--but I really don't understand why composers should not be subject to the same scrutiny and criticism as anyone else who puts themselves into the public arena?

Tomasino



"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do so with all thy might." Ecclesiastes 9:10

Re: John Cage [Re: wr] #1530387
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Originally Posted by wr
Originally Posted by david_a
Originally Posted by wr
My opinion is that a person who slanders the intent of a serious composer is not really worth expending much energy on.
1. I take Cage seriously, most of the time.

2. The fact that a composer takes his work seriously does not oblige me to do the same. I know quite a number of people who take worthless work very seriously indeed. Seriousness of intent does not automatically equal worthwhile work.


How marvelous for you, to know the real value of all music, while those you know have to suffer worthless music in ignorance.

Regardless, your response wasn't about what I posted, which was about malign misrepresentation of a composer's intent, regardless of worth.

(Knowing the real value of SOME music is not a claim to know the real value of all of it.)

Stated intent doesn't always match real intent, even among persons of integrity. And when something is consistently taken in the wrong way, that could be because the real & honest intent has turned out to be a mistake in judgment.


(I'm a piano teacher.)
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