Monday, November 28, 2005



Today I’ll cover two items that were very kindly provided by readers!  It’s been awhile since I posted, but not since I listened.  Instead of posting one gigantic effort, I will interject some of the comments on pieces I heard this past week into the next couple of week’s reviews, so that the extra length is spread out a bit.  I’ll also make up for a little time by hitting some quite long items—the delayed Sonatas and Interludes, perhaps a Europera (or two?)—this week.

As some might know, the 23rd was my birthday and due to the Thanksgiving holiday it was celebrated on the 25th.  Sadly, I didn’t get any new Cage as gifts, but that just means I’ll be spending my own money on some used items from Amazon this week!  

Two additional notes:  If anyone happens to be in or around Italy, and wishes to be extremely helpful, here is a library catalog entry for the book Il treno di Cage which features a cassette of music for “prepared train.” It’s one of the rarest items and it would be great if I could hear a copy of it to review!   Of course, since it’s fairly rare there may well be onerous restrictions on the ability to actually do anything with the book and cassette.  Still, it’s a starting point for a search:

Cage : il treno di Cage / foto: Nino Monastra .Bologna : Grafis & Fylkingen, 1979.
31, [51] p. : ill. ; 21 cm + 1 cassetta. ( Le trasgressioni ; 2.)
Complementi del tit. anche in inglese e francese. - Pubbl. in occasione delle Feste musicali tenute a Bologna nel 1978. - Tit. della cassetta: Alla ricerca del silenzio perduto / John Cage.
BNI 817306.
1. Cage, John - Bologna - 1978 I. Cage, John II. Monastra, Nino
780.92 (ed. 18) – MUSICISTI

Bibl. Nazionale Centrale di Firenze
    Collocazione: D.M.o.9
    Inventario: CF990272381     1 v.

My Italian is pretty limited, so it was fun trying to find this...

Secondly, where might one find the complete text to Empty Words?  I have enjoyed reading Lecture on Nothing to myself and to friends; it would be nice to try something a bit more challenging!

This is a radio recording of a work that consists of chopped up country names and national anthems.  Actually, this particular recording features folk music from the relevant countries from the 1984 Olympic Games, rather than national anthems.  This is reasonable because frankly, national anthems pretty much all sound the same to my ears.  Anyway, the letters are pronounced in a curious manner, almost in a call-response form for two voices, one male and one female.  The effect is fairly hypnotic.  

This is a text work which was created by arranging by chance sentences, words, and so on from Thoreau’s journals that refer to music or sound.  If you have heard the text pieces on the Mode Cage Reads Cage album, you have heard this, except that Cage’s voice seems more forceful, and less quiet than he seemed on, say, the Mesostics on the Mode album.  The text is also interesting, and I can’t help but notice a large number of frogs making their appearance...rather similar, actually, to the ever-present frog in Williams Mix.  A connection!  Since there’s also a lot of water mentioned, I suppose the frogs make sense.  The text flows wonderfully off Cage’s tongue, as he has always been an ideal performer of his own vocal works.  It, like HMCIEX, is a little hypnotic.  At first, you try to derive meaning from the flow of words, syllables, and phrases; eventually, it just seems to enter your mind, generating an occasional image (the wind, music, the sky, frogs...more frogs...).  Even if it’s just spoken text, its performance thus has a similar effect on me as the performance of music does.  I think it will even replace Indeterminacy as my late night listening before bed...

The complete text of "Empty Words" can be found in "Empty Words", from Wesleyan University Press.
Should be easy to get.
Well, that is pretty straightforward! :-D
you might want to contact fylkingen in sweden about Il Treno. they might have had something to do with the book / cassette.
and if you get a copy please share!!!!

check my blog soon for pictures from the 40th anniversary rozart mix concert at brandeis...
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?