Re: Zappa's Cage concert?
David P Miller <dpmiller <at> world.std.com>
2009-11-06 01:38:12 GMT
Hello, Andre -
The one piece that comes right to mind, in terms of Cage using that kind
of close amplification, is 0'0" (also known as 4'33" #2). The brief
textual score doesn't specifically call for that kind of action, but does
call for close miking of ordinary personal actions. Cage would sometimes
perform this piece while writing, and drinking water or some other liquid
for refreshment. I can't be sure that this is it, of course, but that
would be a plausible candidate for something performed during the time
As a side note, Zappa recorded 4'33" itself near the end of his life -
it's on the tribute album "A Chance Operation."
I don't know if this will help at all, but perhaps.
On Thu, 5 Nov 2009, Andre Mount wrote:
> Hello All,
> I'm a grad student at UC Santa Barbara, currently writing a dissertation
> looking at the music of Frank Zappa. I'm in the midst of a chapter on
> Zappa's interactions with John Cage (at least, his music and writing) and
> was wondering if I could trouble this list for some advice.
> I recently came across a 1989 interview (available here:
> http://www.afka.net/Articles/1989-10_Tmershi_Duween.htm) in which Zappa
> describes a Cage performance he attended:
> "Once upon a time, when I was an impressionable young composer, somebody
> gave me a John Cage record and I listened to it, and went ‘What the f--- is
> this?’ But since I didn’t know what the f--- anything was, I thought ‘Maybe
> this is really good.’ A short time after that, John Cage came to Claremont
> College and he was giving one of his ... he does these performances with a
> throat microphone. He’d put this thing on his throat and drink a quart of
> carrot juice, or read something to you while he was drinking the carrot
> juice. In a way, this ties in with my over-all feeling towards colleges. In
> this instance, there was a college audience watching John Cage drink the
> carrot juice and do these things, and they were pondering it like it had
> this large significance. It occurred to me that if he could do that, then
> certainly, SURELY there were other things equally ridiculous that a person
> such as myself could do in the music business. And so I decided that I would
> try, not necessarily to gargle with the carrot juice, but that I’d do other
> things that come awfully close."
> According to the John Cage Compendium (http://www.xs4all.nl/~cagecomp/), it
> seems like Zappa is probably referring to Cage's March 7, 1962 performance
> at Pomona College in Claremont, CA. He performed his *Where Are We Going?
> And What Are We Doing?* (Cage) and *Variations II* (with David Tudor).
> As far as I'm aware, neither of these piece involves throat microphones or
> carrot juice! Unfortunately, I'm not completely familiar with Cage's
> oeuvre. Does anyone know what piece's Zappa might be talking about? Any
> information/advice would be greatly appreciated.
> Andre Mount
> University of California, Santa Barbara
> email: amount <at> umail.ucsb.edu
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