Our motto: "Critical thinking in the cheap seats."
Unbiased, honest classical music and opera opinions, since 2007. All written content © 2014 by Paul Pelkonen. For more about Superconductor, visit this link.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

IV:XXXIII

John Cage in his kitchen.

An old college buddy of mine just sent me an MP3 being sold currently on Amazon. So I thought I'd oblige him with a review.

John Cage's groundbreaking piano piece 4'33"
uses clever harmonic development to make a profound statement of great musical depth. Celestial harmonies resonate throughout the piece as the lush orchestration (written to be played by a single performer) develops with fluid textures and rock-solid rhythms that echo the very bones of the Earth.



The opening theme of Tacit 1 is a profound one, echoing back to the pauses that feature in Anton Bruckner's mighty Second Symphony. In Tacit 2, Cage's use of rests, played in a complicated fugue has been known to move audience members, and yes, critics, to tears.

The final section, Tacit 3 builds to a powerful climax, with silent thunder resonating back and forth as the composition ticks down into its final minute. The theme returns again, making a profound, shattering statement as the pianist shifts on the bench in order to reach the middle C on the keyboard. But the C is never heard, replaced by strange microtones that are inaudible to all but the most cultured music lover.

And for only a buck, you can now own this fine studio MP3 recording of Mr. Cage's audacious work as performed and released by The Sound Corporation. All you have to do is click the link in this article and buy it. Send it to your friends. Send it to your enemies. It's the perfect IPod stuffer.

John Cage was one of the most revolutionary, groundbreaking composers of the 20th century. And by all accounts (and a photograph published by British symphonic commentator Norman Lebrecht) he could make a mean pasta sauce.

P.S.: This article was written in 4 minutes, 33 seconds. I think Mr. Cage would have liked it.


A live performance of 4'33".
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Since 2007, Superconductor has grown from an occasional concert or CD review to a near-daily publication covering classical music, opera and the arts in and around NYC, with excursions to Boston, Philadelphia, and upstate NY. I am a freelance writer living and working in Brooklyn NY. And no, I'm not a conductor.