Each of us has an image of John Cage’s silent piece, an idea—or many ideas—of what he created, why he created it, and what it means. This series will be my story of Cage’s silent piece—or silent pieces, since there are four of them.
Essays and posts on the music of American composer John Cage (1912-1992)
On the Cage/Feldman Radio Happenings This is a series of posts about the Radio Happenings shows of 1966–1967, over four hours of conversations between John Cage and Morton Feldman broadcast on WBAI in New York. It covers the history of these shows, including the story of how I rediscovered them twenty years after their initial broadcast. 1. The Happenings
For me, there is a more personal history of the Radio Happenings: the story of how they came to light and were preserved. It all happened because of procrastination and the pre-Internet digital social world of Bulletin Board Services in New York City. It was a rare musicological adventure.
Morton Feldman’s “Projection” showed John Cage the destination of his musical-spiritual journey. It was a revelation, the opening of a door to an entirely new world, “not just the musical world outside of you”, as he later described it, “but the musical world inside of you.”
By 1950 Cage had arrived at a style that celebrated emptiness. Paradoxically, by letting go any strong self-expression, he discovered a truer musical voice. His next major work, the Concerto for prepared piano and chamber orchestra, was to explicitly present this release from self-expression.