Henry Cowell and 4′33″

This is one of my favorite stories about Henry Cowell and John Cage.
quoted from “HENRY COWELL A MAN MADE OF MUSIC” by Joel SACHS (p.263)

When Weiss went to Eurpe on tour and Henry also was about to leave New York, Cage decided to go with him to California. Henry did most of the driving, but Cage took over occassionally, alarming Henry by driving all over the road if no one was coming toward them. Cage thought the trip took seven to ten days, including stops for illicit liquor in countries that remained dry after the recent repeal of Prohibition, In the diners they would compete to see who could complete counterpoint exercised fastest. Henry told Sydney that one of the annoyances on the drive was the jukeboxes in every dinner. He remarked to Cage that it would be a pleasure to put in a penny and get five minutes of silence, thus apparently planting the seed for 4′33″ (1952). To my question about it, Cage replied that he did not know, he did not “cultivate his memory.”

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Villa-Lobos open-house improvisation sessions

This morning I was reading a book “Varèse -Astronomer in Sound” by Malcolm MacDonald and found the following sentence about Sunday open improvisation sessions by Villa-Lobos, which influenced Varèse to write his famous percussion orchestra “Ionisation”.

During his Paris sojourn of 1929-33 Varèse was much in the company of Heitor Villa-Lobos, who kept open house on Sundays in the Boulevard Saint-Michel, and he participated with the Brazilian composer in improvisation sessions on Latin-American instruments.

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