Graham Reid | | <1 min read
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.