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Monday, June 4, 2012

Soundscape Composition: John Cage's Radio Music

Radio Music  (6:00). In the 1950's television was still in its infancy and radio was at the end of its Golden Era. John Cage, with his ear always tuned to  the acoustic landscape, composed Radio Music (1956) around the concept that society was awash in a diversity of sounds broadcast by radio throughout the day. These sounds, disconnected from their original sources, could prove to be interesting in a soundscape mixed live by eight performers with radios as their instruments.

This video is a presentation of Radio Music by performers Juan Hidalgo, Walter Marchetti, and Gianni-Emilio Simonett. It is based on live radio transmissions at the time of its performance.  Each performer was instructed to tune his radio to different frequencies between 55 and 156 kHz through at specific times throughout the 6 minute score. Given the chance operations involved, any performance of this work will be different depending on where it is performed, the availability of radio stations within the community and the type of content available. Any performance today will be greatly different than that of its first performance on May 30, 1956 at the Carl Fisher Hall in New York City with artists John Cage, Maro Ajemain, David Tudor, Grete Sultan and the four members of the Juillard String Quartet. Click2View a related Video (6:16). in which you see performers following Cage's score. Source: You Tube

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