John Cage Performs His Avant-Garde Piano Piece 4′33″ … in 1′22″ (Harvard Square, 1973)

We’ve seen var­i­ous per­for­mances of John Cage’s famous silent piece 4′33″. But nev­er dur­ing our decade dig­ging up cul­tur­al curiosi­ties have we encoun­tered 4′33″ per­formed by Cage him­self. That is, until now. Above you can watch a video out­take from Nam June Paik’s Trib­ute to John Cage, filmed in 1973, in Har­vard Square. Boston’s WBGH describes the scene:

In the video he is seat­ed at a piano, with spec­ta­tors sur­round­ing him. He toys with his viewer’s expec­ta­tions by not play­ing the piano, which is what the gen­er­al pop­u­lace would expect from a per­for­mance involv­ing a piano. On the piano shelf there are a pock­et watch and a slip of paper. He keeps touch­ing and look­ing at the pock­et watch which draws the audience’s atten­tion to the idea of time, and that they are wait­ing for some­thing to hap­pen, and he also rais­es and low­ers the piano fall­board. There is also text that appears in this par­tic­u­lar video that says “This is Zen for TV. Open your win­dow and count the stars. If rainy count the rain­drops on the pud­dle. Do you hear a crick­et? …or a mouse.”

Anoth­er uncon­ven­tion­al item to add to the list: Cage per­forms 4′33″ in 1′22″!

For a clos­er look at 4′33″ read Josh Jones’ ear­li­er post on the Curi­ous Score for John Cage’s “Silent” Zen Com­po­si­tion 4’33.” For more music by Cage, stream this free 65-hour playlist.

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Relat­ed Con­tent:

See the Curi­ous Score for John Cage’s “Silent” Zen Com­po­si­tion 4’33”

The Music of Avant-Garde Com­pos­er John Cage Now Avail­able in a Free Online Archive

Stream a Free 65-Hour Playlist of John Cage Music and Dis­cov­er the Full Scope of His Avant-Garde Com­po­si­tions

How to Get Start­ed: John Cage’s Approach to Start­ing the Dif­fi­cult Cre­ative Process

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