John Cage: Mushroom Haiku (date unknown)

 |   |  <1 min read

John Cage: Mushroom Haiku (date unknown)

The American composer John Cage (1912 - 92) was best known for something he did in '52, which was nothing.

The composition which he performed was entitled 4'33" and involved Cage sitting at a piano for exactly that duration and not playing a note.

Since then the work has been much discussed by musicologists and comedians, and has been performed many, many times, and on a variety of instruments.

In the popular imagination, the notoriety of the piece however rather overshadowed much of Cage's career, but he was also much taken by Zen Buddhism (that figures, right?), Japanese culture, koans (philosophical riddles in Zen) and of course the poetic form of haiku.

And he was a mushroom aficionado.

In this short piece, all of these threads come together in a brief talk which ends with a beautiful Zen-like punchline . . . and which, like 4'33", also has a point.

(There's a Zen encounter here for your further amusement.)

 

For more oddities, one-offs or songs with an interesting backstory check the massive back-catalogue at From the Vaults.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   From the Vaults articles index

Tom Russell: Chocolate Cigarettes (1991)

Tom Russell: Chocolate Cigarettes (1991)

Whether his stories are literally true or not (and some, like the Leadbelly song about boxer Jack Johnson being denied passage on the maiden voyage of the Titanic, aren't), the American... > Read more

Brix E. Smith and Nigel Kennedy: Hurdy Gurdy Man (1991)

Brix E. Smith and Nigel Kennedy: Hurdy Gurdy Man (1991)

Tribute albums can be dodgy: some are fun, and the more obscure the artists the better they get. But you are wise to avoid the Joy Division tribute A Means to an End which features those household... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

SHANI.O PICKS HER BEST EPs OF 2016

SHANI.O PICKS HER BEST EPs OF 2016

What a year it has been for EP releases. Following the semi-regular EP review columns that have been posted on Elsewhere throughout the year, here are five top picks from 2016:1. Shakes -... > Read more

PAUL McCARTNEY SOLO CAREER; PART 1, 1970-80: Success in the Seventies

PAUL McCARTNEY SOLO CAREER; PART 1, 1970-80: Success in the Seventies

Paul McCartney once commented that his solo career since the Beatles -- now stretching to more than four decades -- was largely undiscovered territory. That’s true. But can anyone... > Read more