Tuesday, May 5, 2009


John Cage's mighty 1952 composition 4'33'' is now available for download on iTunes. We can suppose as a digital download, this must be the purest version ever recorded. A decent pair of headphones would seem to violate the whole point of the piece. The first recording of 4'33'' I ever heard was on vinyl, with its attendant pops and crackles. If it were on cassette, you'd at least have a lovely tape hiss. On this version, the only evidence that the performance is taking place--if it is taking place--is the progress bar sliding away on the computer. With the headphones, none of the supposed music/noise of everyday life comes through. It certainly seems like a dadaist act to buy the thing, but Apple has spoiled it a bit by letting you have 4'33'' for only $1.99 rather than the usual $9.99. With that said, if you are so inclined and don't feel you need the entire performance, you are permitted to purchase one of the three movements for $.99. 


Chris Nakashima-Brown said...

Brilliant, Paul, you need to post here more often!

Dave Hardy said...

In the spirit of 4'33", my comment below.

Dave Hardy said...