Thursday, 7 November 2013

John Cage and the Sound of Venice

The cover of this edition of  L'illustre (from 2004) features one of my favourite composers.

In 1959 John Cage dedicated a composition to Venice. Sound of Venice is 3 minutes of sounds such as bells and ship signal horns, and includes a squeaky toy which makes a curious noise like a cat's meow, or maybe it's the commonly heard squeals from the looped ropes of the vaporetti when they tighten-up on the mooring posts during halts at Venice's floating ferry stations.

The Sound of Venice was performed on the wildly popular television show Lascia O Raddopia and seen by 25 million viewers.

Over a five week period other compositions appeared. One was Water Walk - a composition for piano with five radios, bathtub, watering can, pressure cooker, ice cubes and a blender.

There is a wonderful snippet of conversation from the final show:

Mike Bongiorno:  Mr. Cage, will you now return to America or stay here?

John Cage: My music stays.
Mike Bongiorno: Oh, you leave and your music is still here. But the opposite would have been better; that your music would leave and that you'd remain here.

I can't imagine that anyone has a 1959 recording of Venice Sound but fortunately for us there is another version 


The depth of the audience reaction is delightful and indicates the broad appeal and high worth of the body of the off-the-wall work of John Cage.


Today's European Weather Forecast from BBC World: 

". . . we have a wavy wiggling weather front . . ."

Just thought you'd like to know. 

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