Thursday, December 22, 2005



Well, I am once again back in Alabama.  It was a nice trip, faster than usual since I listened to the Cage/Tudor interview linked to on the Silence list, among other things,  as I drove.  Here is a double whammy of music, about a CD worth in terms of length.  Sort of...As will be seen in the first description. it’s not very nose on your face to determine if the first work is what I thought it was.  

I’m not sure how accurate I am here.  I listened to a recording of James Joyce, Marcel Duchamp and Erik Satie: An Alphabet which I presume is the same thing as the Alphabet from 1982, but it’s ,ore like a text work than a music work.  Then again, Cage does rather blend the two, doesn’t he?  The work consists primarily of “conversations” of a sort between various characters, but generally they come off more like monologues, and very odd ones at that.  To summarize, the piece was a textual description of a stage play, usually involving actors who are dead (some are not) and strange actions that would not actually be presentable.  In general, the people are important to Cage (the title characters, plus an enormous number of names I don’t recognize offhand, probably poets) but not always...At least the people that actually say anything seem important.  This was a live recording, and the audience laughs regularly and I do not get the jokes at all, most of the time.  I did learn that I’ve been pronouncing “Duchamp” wrong every time I have said his name, and I also learned from the introduction (possibly my favorite part, in which Cage describes his experiences with Duchamp, Joyce and Satie) that “nose on your face” is a good substitute for “straightforward.”  

The most memorable section was an extremely longwinded description of points of view based on rays of light striking objects in various dimensions.  I listened to this on the road, though, so I’ll scan over the recording here and add additional detail tomorrow.

I do remember thinking that if someone made a cartoon based off the work, that would be incredible.  

Ah, the classic “happening” from 1969.  Based on the description of the event (multicolored lights, space-image-slide shows, etc.) It seems to fit my mental image of the end of the decade pretty well.  Anyway, I wouldn’t really recommend the LP recording, since it obviously lacks all of the multimedia aspects of the performance.  The music consists of various harpsichord solos combined with taped computer music.  The computer music is a lot of fun to listen to simply by virtue of its age, and there’s lots of interesting timbres, from generic booping to ripping and tearing sounds.  Although the music doesn’t provide any melody, it does add an appropriate background to the shrill, “spiky” sound that I associate with harpsichord music.  They are similar in texture, I think.

I don’t recognize the harpsichord pieces, but they are a bit hard to hear anyway.  I know some are modern, and some are instances of Mozart’s dice-game pieces.  Hey, it just occurred to me that the dice game is not on the 260 CD Mozart collection.  Blasphemy!

Anyway. I wish someone relatively nearby would re-stage this.  I would enjoy hanging out for awhile, although at this point it might seem a bit “retro” and it might be hard to pull it off in a serious way.  Still, any chance to see (and probably make fun of) Trip to the Moon (one of the movies played at the original event) should be taken up.  

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

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