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Revill, David; THE ROARING SILENCE JOHN CAGE: A LIFE; Arcade Publishing, Inc.; New York; Copyright 1992 by David Revill. Typed by Barb. Golden, Oct '94. excerpts 895w

A performance of Imaginary Landscape No. 4 at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1959, was coordinated by Lamonte young, with a young Terry Riley on the tenth radio. p.217

1969

In the fall, Cage took up his position as artist-in-residence at the University of California at Davis (David Tudor had held the post in 1966-67, when Stockhausen was a visiting professor of composition). he had visited the campus briefly on January 20, when he had played Sonatas and Interludes in a daytime concert ("bring your own lunch").

The Davis campus had started out as an agricultural college, built in 1908 in the wake of the Populist movement. Legislation at the end of the fifties, encouraging the growth of the universities, led to its expansion and a flush of funding and the university's self-promotion led to opportunities such as that given Cage. pp230-231

In Room 101, a small austere sixty-seater, Cage arranged a performance of Vexations. Due to the scale of the undertaking he had recruited everyone who could play the piano, but he coached each player individually and insisted on a great deal of discipline. For this performance, tempo was crucial: every repetition was to last exactly one minute and twenty seconds. The players were each to arrive twenty minutes ahead of the time they were due to begin and were to sit to the left of the piano in contemplative silence, then, when the time came, they cold slip onto the piano stool without breaking the remorseless flow. The vacating performer would sit to the right of the new player and keep count: fifteen repetitions in twenty minutes.

Cage played first, at six in the morning, immaculate in his concert suit and Bond Street shirt; the hall was packed, and remained so for most of the day. he performed, another of the musicians recalls, with "a great deal of elegance and precision", which inspired others to do the same. One pianist, Michael Furnoy, "attempted very subtle variations in touch, which Cage enjoyed thoroughly."

In December Cage heard from Satie's publisher: he was not to make further use of his two-piano version of Socrate. This was potentially disastrous, as Cunningham had already choreographed on the basis of the structure and phrasing of the piece. As he had done in other ways before, Cage solved the problem by accepting the new limitations but thereafter cleaving s close as he could to his first plan.

He conceived a piano solo which would preserve the structure and phrasing of Socrate, but would use chance operations to determine pitches, transpositions and continuity, thus circumventing the copyright problem but retaining all the markers on which Cunningham was relying. Cage called Cunningham from Davis and told him in one swoop both the problem and his solution: the new score, he said, would be called Cheap Imitation. Cunningham opted to call the dance Second Hand. The finished piano score is dated December 14.

Cheap Imitation was the first work by Cage for years to consist exclusively of conventional notation. At the time he reflected that it distracted him from the continuous quest for ever more radical indeterminacy. It was not, however, to prove an aberration (following the computerization of I Ching chance operations). Critics were intrigued; it was, one suggested, "the most musical thing he has created in a long time."

Early in 1970 Cage and Cunningham traveled to the University of California at Santa Cruz, thanks to a grant from the Carnegie Foundation, to offer their views on planning for the performing arts in what was still barely a five-year-old campus. Norman O. Brown had been Professor of Humanities there since 1968, having left Wesleyan in 1962 and taught in the meantime at the University of Rochester. Paul Lee, a professor of philosophy, invited Cage to spend the day hunting mushrooms with Alan Chadwick, a remarkable gardener whose background included Shakespearian acting, the study of Rudolph Steiner, and practice of French Intensive Biodynamic Horticulture. They were accompanied by two garden apprentices and the poet Robert Duncan. Cage was particularly taken by Chadwick and his work. He told Lee that it had been one of the most wonderful days of his life, and thought he might donate his considerable library of mycological texts to the university. pp230-233

After his visit to the press, he made a brief trip to Seattle, then spent a week in Stanford as a Marta Sutton Weeks Distinguished Visitor at the Humanities Center. An exhibition in the Art Gallery had begun on December 10 and continued until February 9 (1992). Cage and Kathan Brown gave an informal talk on January 27, followed by music performed by, among others Gordon Mumma. Norman O. Brown appeared in a panel discussion the following day on the place of Cage in American culture. Later in the week the composer performed Muoyce, James Joyce, Marcel Duchamp, Erik Satie: An Alphabet and (on January 28 and 30) Here Comes Everybody: Overpopulation and Art, Part I and Part II, a reflection of his social and political concerns in an up-to-date form. pp299-300

There are also, for the first time, affirmatory allusions to sexual politics ("overcome the patriarchal thinking," "discussions about sex overcoming repressive structures")/ p.301


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