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Speaking of Music:
John Cage, 1987

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Item Type: Sound Recording Duration: 128 min
Event Type: Interview and Music Program Origin: KPFA

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Charles Amirkhanian interviews John Cage on January 8, 1987, as part of the San Francisco Exploratorium’s Speaking of Music series. The program begins with a discussion of two of Cage’s pieces of aleatoric music, “Music For” which is scored for any number of instruments, and “Thirty Pieces for Five Orchestras”. Also discussed in detail is “EurOperas 1 & 2”, which was intended to be an opera like no other, and in that regard it has no real libretto or plot. However the majority of this program is dedicated to questions from the audience. In his answers Cage continues to confound expectations with his comments about why he composes using chance operations (to free his music from his likes and dislikes), the role of silence in music (to listen to the sounds everyone ignores), and the role of music (to quiet the mind). Cage also wanders into the realm of political science by commenting on the work of Buckminster Fuller and the role of Anarchism in any future utopia . As with any program with Cage, regardless of what he is talking about, the humor and warmth of his personality always shines through.

Part 1 of 2:  
Musical Selections:  Music For [excerpt] (1984-87) (2:18) -- Thirty Pieces for Five Orchestras [excerpt] (1981) (9:09) -- Essay [excerpt, un-stratified version, text by Henry David Thoreau] (1986) (3:10) -- Essay [excerpt, un-stratified version, text by Henry David Thoreau] (1986) (1:24)
Genre:  New Music
Subject:  Cage, John; New music; Aleatory music; Chance operations; Orchestral music; Cut-ups (Literary form); Electronic music
People:  Amirkhanian, Charles; Cage, John; Thoreau, Henry David, 1817-1862
Recording Date:  1/8/1987
 
Part 2 of 2:  
Musical Selections:  EurOperas 1 & 2 [excerpt from the libretto, read by Cage] (1987) (3:47)
Genre:  New Music
Subject:  Cage, John; New music; Opera; Cut-ups (Literary form); Politics and culture; Anarchism
People:  Amirkhanian, Charles; Cage, John
Recording Date:  1/8/1987
 
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