Happy birthday Mr Cage
La Monnaie Wind Quintet & Brass Quintet
Born on the 5th of September 1912, today's lunchconcert pays tribute to Jogn Cage. For 4’33”, the musicians from the Wind Quintet and Brass Quintet from La Monnaie will sit facing the audience and… not play a single note. They will be faithfully interpreting what is probably John Cage’s most famous composition, 4’33”, an exploration of silence or, more precisely, of the impossibility of silence: the musicologist Kyle Gann has described the work as an ‘act of framing’ whose function is to open our ears to all the ambient noises (from muffled conversations to the distant hum of traffic) which, even in a concert hall, are never completely shut out. Initially entitled Silent Prayer, this composition to end all compositions will bring to a logical close a concert quite cleverly constructed as a progression towards ever more abstract music. It begins with Samuel Barber’s gently lyrical Summer Music for woodwind quintet, then moves on to Cage, Elliot Carter, and more Cage, namely his Five, for any instruments, in which five musicians (here a brass ensemble) freely decide when to play their parts, thus creating a shifting and contingent polyphony. The rest, as they say, is silence.