Multimedia Collection

John Cage: I Have Nothing to Say and I Am Saying It

VHS
56 minutes
ML410 .C24 J541 1990

John Cage is perhaps the most controversial composer of the 20th century. But his influence extends far beyond music; his ideas challenge the way we perceive experience, reshaping modern aesthetic thought. This program provides a fascinating look at the man and his work. Yoko Ono, Laurie Anderson, Merce Cunningham, and Robert Rauschenberg all off observations on Cage's contributions to the postwar American avant-garde. For Cage, all sound, even silence itself, can be used as a source for music. Cage's famous silent piano work, 4'33", is played in full here; viewers are invited to turn down their volume controls during its performance. Interviews with Cage explore the genesis of ideas such as the "prepared piano" or the use of chance operations in his compositions. Excerpts from pieces for prepared piano, percussion instruments, conch shells, five radios and a reader, and dance collaborations with choreographer Merce Cunningham are all included. What emerges is an understanding of Cage's genuine musical intention - "to wake up to the very life we are living...and let it act of its own accord."

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