Wednesday, November 2, 2016

John Bennett #2 -


Have caught up with yesterday’s John Cage letters on Music Matters BBC Radio 3 - wonders of internet radio. My interest was piqued by an old professor from Uni days Peter Dickinson being on. We took him for granted but he brought amazing musicians for us to discover c1974: Steve Reich, Copland, Peter Maxwell Davis, AMM . . .

Anyway, my ambition is to listen to Vexations a 4 minute piece repeated 840 times as Satie requested. Cage discovered the piece in 1949. The experience changed him for ever –but how to find the time to concentrate for 18 hours. I saw a performance at Sydney Uni 1981 that lasted 4 or 5 hours. 
(I mention this in a short video on Satie pts1&2 ) [ambition: Wagner vs Satie]

For the first public performance in 1963. ‘Cage set the admission price at $5 and had a time clock installed in the lobby of the theatre. Each patron checked in with the clock and when leaving the concert, checked out again and received a refund of a nickel for each 20 minutes attended. "In this way," he told Lloyd, "People will understand that the more art you consume, the less it should cost." But Cage had underestimated the length of time the concert would take. It lasted over 18 hours. According to the 1971 edition of the Guinness Book of Records: The New York Times critic fell asleep at 4am and the audience dwindled to six. At the conclusion, one of them shouted "Encore!"’ (Wikipedia

From the garden, Flannel Flowers are covering the cliffs here.


  1. Thank you for sharing this glorious ambition, John: the Flannel Flowers, John Cage, Erik Satie and the weirdo who shouted 'Encore!' The cheers go on for a long time...

  2. What. agreat piece. Encore made me laugh. Imgaine it! We have to imgaine such a world these days. Only flannel flowers would be in attendance.


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