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John Cage Shock: When Japan Fell for Cage and Vice Versa

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Impressed by Cage and by European musicians making related investigations, comparable to Stockhausen, composers like Takemitsu, Toshiro Mayuzumi and Yuji Takahashi had begun to work with probability; graphic scores, fairly than conventional Western notation; and Cagean devices just like the “ready” piano, adjusted with objects that affected the sounding of its strings. A up to date music competition in Osaka in 1961, which included works by Cage, introduced his model of indeterminate, malleable music to Japanese audiences for the primary time. (The response was decidedly combined.)

This all laid the groundwork for Takemitsu, Mayuzumi and Toshi Ichiyanagi, a composer who had studied with Cage in New York, to ask Cage to go to Japan, underneath the auspices of the Sogetsu Artwork Middle in Tokyo, a nexus of experimental efficiency within the Sixties. He and Tudor spent six weeks there: Along with their journey to Tokei-ji, they toured extensively, together with Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka and Sapporo; had the uncommon honor of viewing a geisha banquet; spent the night time at a monastery; and even used an opportunity process to decide on the colour of a necktie to purchase.

In Kyoto, they have been proven the Zen temple Ryoanji, famend for a rock backyard with 15 stones organized in a geometrical sample. Cage’s drawings primarily based on the stones, made 20 years after the journey, impressed his extremely mutable ensemble piece “Ryoanji,” which can be carried out on the Japan Society on Oct. 21 — with among the performers streaming dwell from Japan.

Cage and Tudor’s concerts throughout their go to had a galvanizing impact. Performing Cage’s “Music Stroll” in Tokyo, Tudor lay underneath the piano; Yoko Ono, already an necessary artist and musician who was married to Ichiyanagi on the time, put her physique on prime on the piano strings. In “Theater Piece,” Tudor cooked rice and stir-fried, with contact microphones hooked up to things across the stage: the cookware, a piano, toys.

For the premiere of “0’00,” a follow-up silence train to “4’33,” Cage sat at a desk and wrote a sentence: “In a state of affairs supplied with most amplification (no suggestions), carry out a disciplined motion.” Contact microphones had been hooked up to his pen and glasses, so, because the Cage scholar James Pritchett writes, his motion “was each the creation of the rating and its first efficiency.”