Thursday, February 21, 2008

John Cage was really happening in Bruges


happening - a gathering of people at which something happens. A party or function where people indulge in activities contrary to the social norm.
~ from John Basset McCleary's
Hippie Dictionary.


If something is boring after two minutes, try it for four. If still boring, then eight. Then sixteen. Then thirty-two. Eventually one discovers that it is not boring at all ~ John Cage


The first question I ask myself when something doesn't seem to be beautiful is why do I think it's not beautiful. And very shortly you discover that there is no reason ~ John Cage.


Which is more musical: a truck passing by a factory or a truck passing by a music school?
~ John Cage


As far as consistency of thought goes, I prefer inconsistency ~ John Cage


There is no such thing as an empty space or an empty time. There is always something to see, something to hear ~ John Cage


John Cage was really happening in Bruges, Belgium on February 17, 2008 as my photos show. The one above was taken on the margins of available light in the Concertgebouw's main hall during the performance of Cage's 4' 33" and yes, my digital camera was in 'silent' mode. The amplified cactus, which provided a suitably mystical conclusion to the happening, can just be seen to the left front of the musicians. The Concertgebouw was built for the Bruges' tenure as European City of Culture in 2002. The main hall is acoustically adjustable to suit opera or symphonic/choral music and was also used for a performance of Morton Feldman's Rothko Chapel.


My photo above shows the stunning lantaantoren (‘lantern tower’) which is used for chamber music and amplified events. The new Concertgebouw provides a wonderful choice of flexible performing spaces. But, despite the claims of the project consultants Arup Acoustics, the isolation from external noise in the chamber music venue leaves a lot to be desired. But I'm sure John Cage would have approved of the traffic noise in his Hymns and Variations and the marching band in Sonatas and Interludes.


The Cage happening also included music by Earle Brown. Seen in my photos are the musicians who made it happen, Daan Vandewalle piano, Arne Deforce cello, Jean-Marc Montera electric guitar, Chris Cutler percussion, Aimé Lombaert carillon; Cage's Radio Music (photo 2) was performed by students from the Conservatories of Ghent and Bruge. Lunch (photo 5) was 'indeterminacy cooking' with individual menus decided by a random number generation programme. This was a true happening - a gathering at which something happened contrary to the social norm. Other concert planners, broadcasters and record companies please take note.


'I have nothing to say
and I am saying it
and that is poetry
as I needed it'
~ John Cage


All photos (c) On An Overgrown Path 2008. Report broken links, missing images and errors to - overgrownpath at tmail dot co dot uk

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