Alex Blaze

Queer music Friday - John Cage

Filed By Alex Blaze | October 19, 2007 5:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Marriage Equality
Tags: John Cage, queer music

Here's John Cage's most famous piece, 4'33":

And Cage, in his own words, on being open with his wife about his man-lovin' affairs:

I didn't conceal anything so that even though the marriage didn't work any better than it did, there wasn't anyone to blame.


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Thanks Alex for this piece. I had never seen or heard it performed before. I remember back years ago when I first read Cage's book Silence. What a eye opener on art and life that was. A great gay man who inspired many artists of the 20th century. Our people and our stories are wonderful, all of the things we have brought to this world through our creativity.

Gee ...

At first I was slightly offended: What a waste of 70 or so highly skilled musicians, each who have worked hard at studying and performing for a minimum of sixteen years! ... Then I realized that the composer must be making some sort of statement. Perhaps it was that orchestral "performance" is not necessarily the same as "music"?

But then, reading commentary about the piece, I get it: The experience of the piece is the sounds one hears in the absence of the orchestral sounds, even if it is only the sound of the synapses in your auditory nerves, or the sound of the blood rushing through your eardrum. (As one who suffers from permanent tinnitus, I can appreciate the sensation of "sound" that one's nervous system can generate all on its own.)

One weakness of the piece is that it does not stand all by itself --- the intent of the composer might be many different things, and unless you read commentary, many folks in the audience (such as myself) will not get the point. But OTOH, aren't there always a few in the audience who do not get the point?

And obviously, the composition has one strength, if no other: It is perfect for performance in a church, convent, or monastery.

Kudos to Cage for choosing to live, sooner or later, as an openly gay married man. Although I have never been married to a woman, I expect that that is the only type of heterosexual relationship that I would find honest and fair enough to both parties to be worthwhile.

The peace is really good.
there are other things about Cage u an not comfortable with however i have been interested in Cage's works since 1976. Cages prepared piano peaces are perhaps his best works, allthough quite dated.

i have also been a follower of Davit Tutor a student of Cage.

Take care
Susan Robins

aren't there always a few in the audience who do not get the point?

Count me as one of them.

Oh, Bil, always the Philistine among sophisticated music snobs.... :)

Honestly, someone was going to do an entirely silent piece sooner or later, so it might as well have been a mo.

It just seems like a waste of time. I dunno.

Honestly, someone was going to do an entirely silent piece sooner or later, so it might as well have been a mo.

Alex, Wikipedia claims that the first all-silence composition was "composed" in 1897 ... but they don't say whether Alphonse Allais was also a mo.