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Thread: Why is 4'33" disparaged, while Western forms of sacred music get their own forum?

  1. #2026
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmsbls View Post
    Go to Operabase opera statistics. Scroll down to Composers and select United States from the drop down menu that says "World". Finally select "Top 50". You can read off those above and below Cage.
    Thanks, found the list and have not heard of over half of the one's who ranked over Cage. Nice to see a lot of them are still living.
    "A government big enough to give you everything you want, is a government big enough to take away everything that you have." Thomas Jefferson

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    Senior Member fluteman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KenOC View Post
    Hmmm... I can't even name 31 American opera composers!

    Somehow that reminds me of the supposed Soviet reporting of a Soviet-American two-man foot race. The Soviet runner came in second, the American second to last...
    And yet, most of the top 30 are well-known, not necessarily as composers of opera primarily. I wonder if Cage considered himself an opera composer at all.

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    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    Just to note that Cage edged Gordon Getty in the opera standings. That is praiseworthy indeed.

    However, he is edged in turn by luminaries such as Czernowin and Hubay.


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    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Who knew Cage wrote an opera? Is that the one where the cast stands silent onstage for four hours and thirty-three minutes and it's all over when the fat lady doesn't sing?
    Last edited by Woodduck; May-17-2018 at 02:52.

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    Senior Member Larkenfield's Avatar
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    John Cage’s first opera, written at the age of 75, was “Europera,” the first of five Europeras. I would like to have seen it in Frankfurt where it was a big success: https://mobile.nytimes.com/1988/07/1...e-numbers.html

    [quote] The Frankfurt performances were such a success that theaters around the world have asked to restage it. Mr. Cage's music publisher, Don Gillespie, considers it the ''quintessential Cagean piece.'' And ''Europera'' has already inspired critical literature. [unquote]

    Last edited by Larkenfield; May-17-2018 at 04:05.
    Great things are done by a series of small things brought together...Vincent Van Gogh

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    A charming montage.

    Cage's quote about returning all the operas to Europe brings to mind Boulez saying he wanted to burn all the opera houses to the ground. They're probably either comforting each other in their disappointment or laughing about how seriously they were taken.
    Why did Boulez want to burn all the opera houses?

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    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JosefinaHW View Post
    Why did Boulez want to burn all the opera houses?
    It was a metaphorical way of saying that the culture of the past needed to be obliterated so that people could accept the necessity of serialism. Was he serious? Maybe it was like the Trump supporter who said that he should be taken seriously but not literally. Of course one has the option of doing the reverse. Nobody cares now (about what Boulez said, I mean).

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  12. #2033
    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    It was a metaphorical way of saying that the culture of the past needed to be obliterated so that people could accept the necessity of serialism.
    The truth is more prosaic. Boulez had taken out sizable fire insurance policies on those opera houses naming himself as beneficiary.


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    ^ Ah, did they use that cladding again?
    "Everyone is born with genius, but most people only keep it a few minutes"
    ÉddïéRÛKíddîngVãrèsë! -I got a dog and not sure what to call it DoggydogdogMcDogface maybe............

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  16. #2035
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    Hmmm, I guess the point of my question / musical thought experiment was missed. My point was, it's easy to SAY Cage's piece is something. But what if you actually had to do more than just talk about it? In other words, if you had to pay to go to a concert where that's all that was being played (plus my fictional work which was just to spice things up a bit and make it a concert). So if you had to get dressed, travel to the concert hall, wait for the piece to begin, pay the ticket price of course, etc. I.e. you had to get some skin in the game, not just talk. My guess is most people would NOT do this for a concert of pieces like Cage's, all silence.

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    Senior Member Larkenfield's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ludwig Von Chumpsky View Post
    Hmmm, I guess the point of my question / musical thought experiment was missed. My point was, it's easy to SAY Cage's piece is something. But what if you actually had to do more than just talk about it? In other words, if you had to pay to go to a concert where that's all that was being played (plus my fictional work which was just to spice things up a bit and make it a concert). So if you had to get dressed, travel to the concert hall, wait for the piece to begin, pay the ticket price of course, etc. I.e. you had to get some skin in the game, not just talk. My guess is most people would NOT do this for a concert of pieces like Cage's, all silence.
    Cage’s work has never been performed within the context you described, and really, you telegraphed way in advance where you were headed with your proposed concert for $75 of an unknown composer of one work only, lasting about 5 minutes of silence, and it obviously wasn’t going to be complementary to John Cage.
    Last edited by Larkenfield; May-17-2018 at 22:59.

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    Senior Member fluteman's Avatar
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    The Frankfurt performances were such a success that theaters around the world have asked to restage it. Mr. Cage's music publisher, Don Gillespie, considers it the ''quintessential Cagean piece.'' And ''Europera'' has already inspired critical literature. [unquote]

    Quote Originally Posted by Larkenfield View Post
    Cage’s work has never been performed within the context you described, and really, you telegraphed way in advance where you were headed with your proposed concert for $75 of an unknown composer of one work only, lasting about 5 minutes, and it obviously wasn’t going to be complementary to the composer.
    Yes, I already posted a link to that video about a German production of Europera 1&2 prior to making my cheeky comment about the rankings in operabase. Naughty me, the latter was mainly a jape at many here who seem excessively concerned with statistics and rankings, a couple of whom have obediently risen to the bait.
    IIRC, the actual performance of 4'33", or the first one at any rate, took place circa 1952 at a summer music festival in bucolic upstate New York, so the silence would be taken up not only by audience noises but by birds twittering, tree branches rustling in the breeze, and other sounds of nature. I don't know if there was thunder, as Woodduck suggests.
    Last edited by fluteman; May-17-2018 at 15:16.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Larkenfield View Post
    Cage’s work has never been performed within the context you described, and really, you telegraphed way in advance where you were headed with your proposed concert for $75 of an unknown composer of one work only, lasting about 5 minutes, and it obviously wasn’t going to be complementary to the composer.
    I guess I didn't pose my musical thought experiment correctly. My fictional composition just muddied the thing. So did the cost part. And I wasn't actually telegraphing anything, was just interested in seeing how folks would respond. From experience in other non-music forums I know talk is cheap about so many things. So when you add in some kind of real context, the "skin in the game", it often brings out people's true opinions. Oh well, experiment over.

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    I wouldn't travel more than a few hundred yards or pay more than a few cents if all I was getting for the trouble was 5 minutes of music, regardless of who the composer was or what the music was.

    I will say that if there were a full program of music that mostly appealed to me, then the addition of 4' 33" would make the program a little more appealing, because I'm curious to experience it in a concert setting.

    A slightly longer "version" composed by someone else? Just sounds like messing, and I see no reason to support it. "Here's my Symphony in C minor. It's Beethoven's 5th but I've added five extra chords at the end. Aren't I clever!"
    See the results of my polls: most-liked composers and most-liked works.

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  25. #2040
    Junior Member Norman Gunston's Avatar
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    I want to hear the Wagnerian ring cycle version of 4' 33"
    Last edited by Norman Gunston; May-18-2018 at 23:55.

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