JOHN CAGE – One6 / One10


I received this album a long time ago, somehow losing memory of it. Still, is there a “right moment” to analyze a John Cage release? Of course the answer is no. Moreover, the participation to recent discussions dealing with this composer’s opus elicited a personal reconsideration of Cage’s significance as a composer, a figure that – despite a whole lot of intriguing pieces, many of them published by this very label – is ultimately deemed as less attention-deserving than the theories introduced for those who listen what happens around them carefully. In essence: why something extremely simple, or just noisy, should be valued as high art “because it’s Cage”, while the same thing played by a nobody remains just insignificant? Why everything done by this man should be considered so important? Then you press the play button and Christina Fong’s violin starts singing: hoarse held tones, minimally weak emissions, raspy semi-ultrasonic activities, slightly oscillating (literally, in terms of cents) pitches. She plays these notes and stops. The hush is broken by the birds, the murmur of the winds amidst trees and the distant cars. Then she restarts, and it goes on and on – the whole 71 minutes of it. And the polemic writer thinks again. Maybe I got it all wrong – isn’t this what humans really need? No aesthetic, no meaning, no nothing. Events, single occurrences with their pros and cons. Who told that something written on sounds can touch inside more than sound itself? What presumption drives to assume the reasons for liking a piece or defining it as useless? Questions that remain unanswered. But the record, once more, is splendid. What were we talking about? Keep listening to the world: this music fits in, gracing the hot air of this particular afternoon. Even birds seem to appreciate: they’re chirping louder right now – and never dreamed of writing treatises on silence.


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