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Cage, John: Empty Words (Edition Wandelweiser Records)

John Cage's "Empty Words" (1974) is drawn from the Journals of Henry David Thoreau, written in four parts: Part I omits sentences, Part II omits phrases, and Part III omits words. Part IV, which omits syllables, leaves us nothing but a virtual lullaby of letters and sounds.
 

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product information:


UPC: 4011778041719

Label: Edition Wandelweiser Records
Catalog ID: EWR 1102/03
Squidco Product Code: 21826

Format: 2 MP3 CDs
Condition: New
Released: 2011
Country: Germany
Packaging: Cardstock 4 page foldover
Recorded in Dusseldorf, Germany in 2010 and 2011.


Personnel:

John Cage-composer

Sylvia Alexandra Schimag-speaking voice)

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track listing:


CD 1



1. Part I 2:30:00

2. Part II 2:30:00

CD 2



1. Part III 2:30:00

2. Part IV 2:30:00




Related Categories of Interest:


Compositional Forms
Avant-Garde
Spoken Word
John Cage
New in Compositional Music
Recent Releases and Best Sellers

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descriptions, reviews, &c.

"Empty Words"

begins by omitting sentences,
has only phrases, words, syllables and letters.

The second part omits the phrases,
has only words, syllables and letters.
The third part omits the words,
has only syllables and letters. And the last part ...
has nothing but letters and sounds.


A mix of words, syllables, and letters obtained by subjecting the Journal of Henry David Thoreau to a series of I Ching chance operations.

What was interesting to me was making English less understandable.
Because when it's understandable, well, people control one another,
and poetry disappears.

A transition from language to music.
It's bewildering at first, but it's extremely pleasurable as time goes on. And that's what I'm up to."-John Cage


Artist Biographies:

"John Milton Cage Jr. (September 5, 1912 - August 12, 1992) was an American composer, music theorist, writer, philosopher, and artist. A pioneer of indeterminacy in music, electroacoustic music, and non-standard use of musical instruments, Cage was one of the leading figures of the post-war avant-garde. Critics have lauded him as one of the most influential American composers of the 20th century. He was also instrumental in the development of modern dance, mostly through his association with choreographer Merce Cunningham, who was also Cage's romantic partner for most of their lives.

Cage is perhaps best known for his 1952 composition 4′33″, which is performed in the absence of deliberate sound; musicians who present the work do nothing aside from being present for the duration specified by the title. The content of the composition is not "four minutes and 33 seconds of silence," as is often assumed, but rather the sounds of the environment heard by the audience during performance. The work's challenge to assumed definitions about musicianship and musical experience made it a popular and controversial topic both in musicology and the broader aesthetics of art and performance. Cage was also a pioneer of the prepared piano (a piano with its sound altered by objects placed between or on its strings or hammers), for which he wrote numerous dance-related works and a few concert pieces. The best known of these is Sonatas and Interludes (1946-48).

His teachers included Henry Cowell (1933) and Arnold Schoenberg (1933-35), both known for their radical innovations in music, but Cage's major influences lay in various East and South Asian cultures. Through his studies of Indian philosophy and Zen Buddhism in the late 1940s, Cage came to the idea of aleatoric or chance-controlled music, which he started composing in 1951. The I Ching, an ancient Chinese classic text on changing events, became Cage's standard composition tool for the rest of his life. In a 1957 lecture, Experimental Music, he described music as "a purposeless play" which is "an affirmation of life - not an attempt to bring order out of chaos nor to suggest improvements in creation, but simply a way of waking up to the very life we're living"."

-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Cage)
8/16/2017

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