Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Nothing Is Free

I've just been alerted, by loyal reader Aaron, that iTunes is offering the first movement of John Cage's most celebrated piece for download, free of charge. I'm not really in the market for a new recording of 4'33"—in fact, I just bought a spindle of 50 such recordings last week—but hey, if the first taste is free... Download here. Ummmm, and check out the comments section. I can't even pick a favorite. Hey so, other than 4'33", what's the greatest silence in music, in y'alls humble opinion? There are some really spectacular silences in Mahler, but probably my sentimental fave is the series of 18 thirty-second silences that ends the Roger & Brian Eno recording of 18 Keyboard Studies by Hans Friedrich Micheelsen. You're supposed to put the record on shuffle, see, so that the tracks are not only in random order, but they're spaced apart randomly as well, for that like wind-chimes feeling—avant-garde form generated live in your living room. Why don't more people do stuff like that? I'd give you a direct link to the webpage where you can buy this CD, but apparently Mr. Electronic Visionary has not figured out how to make individual products linkable at the Enoshop, and that's the only place he sells it, so fuck him. Still, do order (or download) a copy, and then take a picture of yourself holding it, so that everyone knows how much you love Brian Eno.

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Blogger Grrg said...


March 31, 2009 at 1:34 PM  
Anonymous one of many Gregs said...

One of Erwin Schulhoff's early, Dada-ist piano pieces is made up entirely of rests. Unlike Cage, it's notated in finicky, complex rhythms (maybe Kyle Gann can explain to us that it's really in 7/5 time?) and accompanied by expressive markings that include smiling and frowning faces. In keeping with the spirit of the time, the movement is pert and apocalyptic. Also furry.

On the road, but I'll send you an image when I return home.

March 31, 2009 at 6:25 PM  
Blogger Maury D'annato said...

There are some great fleeting silences breaking up terrible intensity in Strauss operas...right before the basses do their creaky thing in Salome, and between big ironclad phrases at the very end of Elektra, if the conductor indulges a little (as, for instance, Eschenbach.)

April 1, 2009 at 9:01 PM  

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