Interview with John Cage, 1964-09
NamesMerce Cunningham Dance Company (Associated name)Cage, John (Interviewee)Bodin, Lars-Gunnar, 1935- (Interviewer)Hay, Deborah, 1941- (Interviewer)Johnson, Bengt Emil, 1936-2010 (Interviewer)
Merce Cunningham Dance Foundation Collection. Audio materials
Dates / OriginDate Created: 1964-09
Library locationsRodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded SoundShelf locator: *LTC-A 1458
TopicsBusoni, Ferruccio, 1866-1924 -- Entwurf einer neuen Ästhetik der TonkunstCage, JohnCage, John -- 0'00."Cage, John -- Literary worksCage, John -- Variationsno. 3no. 3
no. 3Cunningham, MerceDuchamp, Marcel, 1887-1968McLuhan, Marshall, 1911-1980Yi jingAleatory musicChoreographyComposition (Music)Musique concrète
NotesContent: Lars-Gunnar Bodin, Bengt Emil Johnson, and Deborah Hay[?] interview John Cage in Stockholm, Sweden, in September, 1964; on the occasion of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company performances as part of the "Five New York evenings" at the Moderna Museet.Content: Title provided by cataloger based on handwritten and typed notes on original container and cassette, and audition. Date and location provided by cataloger based on the works and travels mentioned in the interview.Content: Handwritten and typed notes on original containers and cassettes: "John Cage - Interview by... L.G. [Lars-Gunnar] Bodin, Bengt-Emil Johnson + Deborah Hay (?) ; I/II ; [illegible] II/II".Venue: Originally recorded in, [Stockholm, Sweden], [1964 September].Venue: Dubbed from unidentified original recordings.Acquisition: Gift; Merce Cunningham Dance Foundation, 2011-2012.Citation/reference: Forms part of the Merce Cunningham Dance Foundation Collection.
Physical DescriptionAudiocassetteExtent: 2 audiocassettes (90 minutes total) : analogSound quality is mostly good; there are occasional background noises.
DescriptionStreaming file 1, cassette 1, side a: Begins abruptly; John Cage speaks with Lars-Gunnar Bodin and Bengt Emil Johnson [and Deborah Hay? is likely present] about using his Cartridge music (1960) as a means to compose his lectures, specifically for his "On Robert Rauschenberg, artist, and his work", and, "Jasper Johns: stories and ideas"; he speaks more about writing the lecture on Jasper Johns, including his use of the idea of simultaneity in music as well as chance operations by means of the I-Ching [Yi jing]; he speaks about why he uses the I-Ching and chance, including the way these create uneven distribution of text similar to cycles found in nature; he speaks about how, despite his methods, he uses language in a communicative way as opposed to the way he was able to abandon that in his composing of music; he speaks about his current activities of touring the world, lecturing, and performing, and how this travel poses a challenge to his having time for composing; he speaks about his most recent "complex work", Atlas eclipticalis (1961), in comparison with "quickly written music" while on tour, such as 0'00", Variations III (1963), and Variations IV (1963); he speaks about how he is experimenting with not using a stopwatch or a measure of time in composing; he speaks about his 0'00" as an amplification of "daily work providing it's not selfish"; he describes the superimposed transparencies that performers use to create the performing score for Variations III; he speaks about miking objects in order to amplify their vibrational sounds; ends abruptly.Streaming file 2, cassette 1, side b: Begins abruptly; John Cage speaks with Lars-Gunnar Bodin and Bengt Emil Johnson [and Deborah Hay? is likely present] about publishing music and the need for electronic means of music distribution; they speak more about the possibilities of electronic distribution and Cage describes Marshall McLuhan's idea that the individual author will not be as important as information that will be "moving through the global village"; Cage speaks about why he has used radio in his composition and his dislike of vibraphones; he speaks about using serialism in his early composition as a student of Arnold Schoenberg; [brief recording gaps, ca. 9:37, and, ca. 10:03-10:15]; Cage tells an anecdote about Jasper Johns visiting him in London and bringing books for Cage; he speaks about musical notation in the electronic age, especially as related to Ferruccio Busoni's Sketch of a new esthetic of music (1911); he describes several ideas in McLuhan's writing and how these relate to why he does not want to use computers for composition; they speak about Marcel Duchamp's artistic philosophy and Cage mentions his Large glass (1915-1923) [Bride stripped bare by her bachelors even] as a "premonition of electronics"; Cage speaks about television as a medium which projects light onto the viewer; he speaks about why he feels close to Duchamp as an artist; Cage speaks about the ways he believes electronics will impact a new generation of musicians, especially in music education and the use of notation; ends abruptly.Streaming file 3, cassette 2, side a: Begins abruptly; John Cage speaks with Deborah Hay[?], Lars-Gunnar Bodin, and Bengt Emil Johnson about how repetitive dance performances are "Renaissance" in nature, rather than "electronic"; he speaks about Cunningham's assertion that indeterminacy in dance has to be applied in different ways from indeterminacy in music due to the potential for a dangerous dancers' collision; he speaks about movement speed in Merce Cunningham's Story (1963) as compared to Rune (1959); he speaks briefly about the simplicity of movement in Anna Halprin's works that minimize dangerous circumstances for the participants; he compares the "discipline" required in flying aircraft to dance; he uses Yvonne Rainer's works to describe the relationship between freedom/happenings and discipline/dance; he speaks about Cunningham's solos and ways that he approaches working with his dancers especially Carolyn Brown and Viola Farber; they list the performance schedule of the "Five New York evenings" at the Moderna Museet; Cage recommends that they read Ferruccio Busoni's Sketch of a new esthetic of music; he speaks about the purpose of happenings to allow for experience and expression to arise rather than using happenings to express a pre-conceived idea; Cage speaks about the meaning of the word discipline by Socrates as "giving up oneself in order to know oneself"; they speak more about discipline, conscious intention, and, briefly, Cage's inventor father; [ca. 20:32-26:15, Bodin and Johnson make experimental sounds and Cage comments on them]; Cage speaks about a continuous sound made by running a bow over piano strongs; ends abruptly.
Type of ResourceSound recording
IdentifiersRLIN/OCLC: 917697352NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b20762163Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): 54b8fe50-b913-0133-2603-60f81dd2b63c
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