Focus : John Cage – Sounds Re-Imagined Paul Hall, Juilliard School February 2, 2012
Could only get to one of this year’s Focus evenings, oh well. John Cage gets you thinking about new ways of listening to music, to question the boundaries between sound and music (if there is indeed such). “Six Melodies for Violin and Keyboard”, performed by Garlick and LaNasa, has elements arranged by chance. The “instrument” for “Child of Tree”, performed by Funcheon, is listed in the program as “for amplified plant materials”. I guess there is also some thinking about what exactly constitutes a title for a performed piece. Trying to explain this uncertainty would merely generate another level of uncertainty, so I will not attempt it here. Anyhow, the score for this latter piece allows for improvised creative input from the performer. A table containing various plant (and I think mineral) materials, including a small cactus, was wheeled out, amped with several microphones, and then the various materials were manipulated to produce sounds. For an appropriate final touch, after the table was wheeled off stage following the performance, two members of the stage crew then had to wipe up small residual water puddles on the stage.