April 26, 2012
As long as I can remember, I’ve heard lots of sniggering over John Cage’s composition of that name. People often assume that it’s, at best, a joke or, at worst, an imposture. Not everyone is convinced by the composer’s explanation that, even in the most silent public space, there is going to be noise and that the truly sensitive listener should learn to be aware of all of it. If that noise is only the sounds of respiration or seat-creaking or the subway going by, it may take an exceptional person to find them rewarding.
But look at the photograph above. That‘s where the premiere of 4’33” took place in a summer night surrounded by the sounds of nature. Now can we agree that Cage may have had a point?