Some might think I’m crazy, but I don’t think it’s necessarily a waste of money to buy a recorded performance of 4’33”. There are often interesting things that you can pick out of “the silence,” so long as the recording is of decent quality.
With that said… I think it’d be far more rewarding for people to perform it themselves. Grab a stopwatch and stand somewhere and just listen to the world spinning beneath your feet. I imagine it’s a lot like meditation, but rather than looking inward you are intensely focusing on the noises that the world around you is making.
Here’s a link to my performance of 4’33”, from my senior recital back in 2001.
We’ve just passed the 10 year anniversary of my senior recital for my bachelors degree in K-12 Music Education.
10 years ago I performed John Cage’s 4’33” on stage in front of my family, friends, peers, and professors. 9 out of 10 of them had no idea what the hell was happening. I’m still proud of this performance.
A few thoughts:
- My favorite thing about this video is the quiet little voice of my then-3 year old niece. “What is he doing?” It was the only moment where I lost my composure and let out a smile.
- I wish someone who cared about me back then would’ve told me to cut my hair. I had long hair for a long time. Too long for too long. This was my poofy-curls stage. Also, terrible glasses. Also, fully buttoned-up shirt with no tie?!
- Muted trumpet for the 2nd Movement = The best idea I’ve ever had.