I've been away for several days and only now encountered this thread about 4'33".
I will nail my colours to the mast without further ado and admit that the work does very little for me, even though I believe that I understand fully and appreciate what Cage's intentions were when he came up with the idea of it. Despite having read what Cage has written on this and a number of other matters (some of which I do find interesting), I remain to be convinced of the "point" of 4'33", although I neither regard it as some kind of joke nor do I pour scorn upon it nor would I indulge in the kinds of rude banter that I've seen here towards either those who revere it (and Cage) or those who denigrate it (and Cage).
Beethoven is invoked quite early on in the thread, yet no one seems to have raised the matter of his (admittedly very different and differently motivated) use of silence, which was arguably among the most significant in his day.
One problem that I have with 4'33" - and even more so with its general reception - is that I cannot figure out what's supposed to be quite so mind-bogglingly significant about Cage's wanting to get his listeners to think about the very act of listening; yes, it has its importance, of course - no sensible person would deny that, I think - but this importance has been inflated beyond all measure to the point at which it's almost impossible to consider a response to the piece that is other than replete with distracting disproportionality. That piece doesn't do anything for me that I want a piece of music to do. Nor do the knee-jerkily disparaging but painfully predictable and woefully unentertaining remarks about it and its deviser from the usual suspects.
Last edited by ahinton; 10-11-11 at 22:08.
Was it this one, Bryn?
Originally Posted by Bryn
Indeed, frenchie. You are clearly far more adept at negotiating this board system's search 'facility' than I am.
Originally Posted by french frank
According to Alex Ross's "The Rest is Noise", Cage had earlier considered writing a silent piece called "Silent Prayer". I wonder if people's attitude to 4'33" would be the same if he'd stuck to the earlier title. Would a silent work which could be seen as an aid to, or description of, meditation or prayer be regarded differently to a purely abstract silent composition?
Ross also says that it was seeing some of painter Robert Rauschenberg's White Paintings which finally inspired Cage to go ahead with 4'33".