John Cage in Italy, 1977

An interesting account of John Cage’s Empty Words performance at the Teatro Lirico in Milan in December 1977, sponsored by Cramps Records. The performance was billed as if Cage were a band or a rock star. Members of the audience who didn’t know him protested with loud spoken interruptions and slow hand claps. The documentary on this page (and on YouTube) follows the lead-up (tech rehearsal, vox pop interviews, press conference) to the show, which, if your Italian is very good, is absolutely fascinating. The English-language article, and translations of reviews, on this web page, are very useful. The last four minutes of the film, showing rare footage of Cage’s performance, is stunning.

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Author: Virginia

Virginia Anderson is a writer who messes with the EMC Blog. She specialises in the study of experimental, minimalist, and free improvisatory music. She also plays clarinet, and has recorded on Zanja, Advance, and Rastascan Recordings, specialising in new works for Eb clarinet and free improvisation.

One thought on “John Cage in Italy, 1977”

  1. Great document. I did see it only once in my life…. Glimpse of an old world. There are historical shots: Roberto Masotti photographing Cage, at the table; Walter Marchetti and Juan Hidalgo during the interview; also a young Franco Battiato that was in the public. This was a historical and most controversial exhibition. We were not prepared yet… Thanks for the digging!!!

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