4’33” – isn’t it time we shut up about it?

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At great expense to you and me, BBC4 have broadcast Cage’s 4’33” ‘played’ by the BBC Symphony Orchestra. As you will know from a previous entry, Cage made a lot of money out of silence, even posthumously. We can’t touch Cage, of course, because he’s holy, canonized by the higher education/music publishing/concert promoter fraternity, but isn’t this rather similar to the GM food scare? That pharmaceutical companies would begin to copyright carrots, for example, so that you’d have to pay a licence fee to grow a carrot that had been genetically modified?

John Cage, how very, very modern. And yet oh-so-modern JC made his money out of that oh-so-19th century concept of the musical work and copyright. The only thing 20th century about 4’33” is clocks, time management and lawyers.

I didn’t watch it. I was too busy listening to Schumann’s Sphinxes from Carneval.

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