The title of this work is the total length in minutes and seconds of its performance

Also known as 4’33” by John Cage, this is from the “First Tacet Edition” score, which also says “the work may be performed by any instrumentalist or combination of instrumentalists and last any length of time.”

Tudor’s 1952 performance had prescribed movement lengths, whereas this later score only instructs TACET -> TACET -> TACET. Yes, it carefully describes the timings and gestures of the earlier performance, but the ending seems to demand new approaches. So much for 4’33”. No wonder Cage called it “The Silent Piece” [as in “I have no need for the silent piece”].

What would a new performance be called? 9’6″, carefully preserving the relative movement lengths? But that seems too determinist. Maybe three “musicians” can segue with suitably impulsive timing. Or hold their breath in sequence, or stand on one leg until …

 

words

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