John Cage Was: Images, Poetry and Nocturnes

Mixtapes Streams Wednesdays at 3 pm and Saturdays at 8 pm

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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

John Cage in Amherst, Massachusetts, February 1970 (James Klosty)

Last year, photographer James Klosty released John Cage Was, a collection of photographs that capture the revolutionary composer in collaboration with choreographer Merce Cunningham between 1967 and 1972.

The images are supplemented by tributes from musicians and artists including Yoko Ono, Laurie Anderson and Steve Reich, each invited to write an exactly 100-word observation about Cage beginning with the words "John Cage Was."

Klosty invites us to look through selections from John Cage Was while listening to his Mixtape. It includes a rare performance by Cage himself performing two Nocturnes of Erik Satie (1884-1925), a playful and provocative composer who, like Cage, blurred the lines between experimental theater, philosophy and musical performance. This unreleased recording was made May 4, 1968 at Bradley University in Peoria, IL, and is presented here with the kind permissions of the New York Public Library and the John Cage Trust


John Cage – Interminacy: Part 1 (excerpt: John Cage, reading; David Tudor, music)
Erik Satie – Nocturne #4 (John Cage, piano)
Gavin Bryars – Incipit Vita Nova
John Cage – Interminacy: Part 1 (excerpt: John Cage, reading; David Tudor, music)
John Cage – Cheap Imitation (excerpt: John Cage, piano)
John Cage – Interminacy: Part 3 (excerpt: John Cage, reading; David Tudor, music)
Gavin Bryars – Biped 2
John Cage – Interminacy: Part 3 (excerpt: John Cage, reading; David Tudor, music)
John Cage - Sonatas and Interludes: XV and I (David Greilsammer, piano)
John Cage – Interminacy: Part 3 (excerpt: John Cage, reading; David Tudor, music)
Earle Brown – Windsor Jambs (San Francisco Contemporary Music Players; Joan La Barbara, soprano)
Erik Satie – Nocturne #2 (John Cage, piano)

John Cage was delightful and profound. Over the years I had the joy and priviledge of sharing time with him; singing some of his music; cooking meals together. To be with him, even for a few minutes, was always an inspiration. When John would enter a room, the energy would immediately change - a liveliness and vibrancy would become palpable. His curiousity, immediacy, and playfulness were infectious. His life was a reminder that we can continue to grow, change, and live in the moment for our entire lives. -Meredith Monk

John Cage was born one hundred years ago and he is
still cheering us up, like an English cup of tea.

To honor his life I made a concert program of seventy-nine
minutes, one minute for each year lived. In Poland

it started well, but then people began to leave. (Surprising
what we do for a living.) At the end, those

who stayed gave us a big cheer, standing in a
show of solidarity. It went much better in Germany.

only a few came, but they all stayed.

Now John Cage has fallen silent,
and we are the ones left cheering.

-Paul Hillier

My first composition lesson.
Francis Simon sat down at the piano and played 4'33",
putting me in contact with John Cage.
Isolated in Miami,
I bought all his books and my universe exploded.
John showed up to the first ever BoaC* insisting
-generous to other artists as always-
he buy his ticket.
Whenever I reach a boundary I can't seem to get over
I think of John writing at a table wired with contact mikes.
It always opens up.
John Cage was father to so many ideas
we are still processing them.
We will be for a long time.
-Michael Gordon

When young, working in a new way, my reaction to John Cage was
his direction was clearly not my own.
My impression of his contributions is that his early percussion and prepared piano pieces will survive best.
Some suggest Cage's early pieces laid the groundwork for my music of the 1960s and early '70s.
In that Cage's pieces were structured rhythmically rather than harmonically,
a technical affinity exists even if they had no conscious influence on my music.
I value a distinct voice.
Talent, technique alone, without vision, seem increasingly irrelevant.
John Cage had a vision and followed it.
-Steve Reich

Comments [2]

Poignant and elegant - John Cage was the artist who changed my way of thinking and listening. His influence will live forever.

Jul. 29 2015 11:11 AM
Anthony B. Creamer III from Philadelphia

James Klosty's book is a work of art.

Jul. 29 2015 10:15 AM

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