John Cage – As Slow As Possible

I need a new category; I’m going to call it ‘dressing up box’. As a kid I had one of those – an old suitcase actually – full of bits of material and cast-offs, rejects to everyone but a child in the 1950s with no access to Toys (were) Us. One of the rejects was a bright purple table cloth my dad brought back from his time in India during WWII. It was embroidered with silver wire thread, and totally unwashable which meant it never saw a table. My mother complained that he’d brought bananas for her sister, although how he got those on a troop ship I don’t know. I wore that table cloth often, sweeping round the house being royal in purple cloth and a heavy metal thread elephant. It was also a magic carpet, a pre-Potter cloak of invisibility, and as I got older, a time machine. I don’t know what happened to it.

So now I need a new dressing up box; somewhere to put all those snippets of peculiarity or colour or profundity that make me stop for a moment but that don’t have an immediate place in what I’m doing. John Cage’s 639 year piece of music is one of those.

The experimental piece, which consists of eight pages of music meant to be played very slowly, is intended to last for an entirety of 639 years — meaning it will end in 2640 if all goes according to plan.

Kyle MacDonald, 5th September 2020. Classic FM https://www.classicfm.com/composers/cage/as-slow-as-possible-organ-chord-change/

Apparently people gathered yesterday in the church where it’s being played to hear the first chord change in 2527 days. Slow TV, eat your heart out.

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