Manuscript Excerpt: Imaginary Landscape No. 1

Among Cage's earliest electro-acoustical works, "Imaginary Landscape No. 1" uses a piano and two turntables, which play frequency records.

NYPL catalog record

C.F Peters record

Date [year]: 
1939
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John Cage Playing Amplified Cacti and Plant Materials with a Feather

Description: 

John Cage performing on Nam June Paik's television special Good Morning, Mr. Orwell (1984). Cage is joined by Takehisa Kosugi and one other unidentified person. Perhaps they were performing a composition or an improvisation that they would have done during a Merce Cunningham dance. There is also a cutaway to a Joseph Bueys piano performance art piece.

John Cage with David Tudor

A photograph of John Cage (at left) with his friend and collaborator David Tudor

Date [year]: 
1956
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Manuscript Excerpt: 49 Waltzes for the Five Boroughs

Transcriptions may be made for other cities, or places, by assembling, through chance operations, a list of 147 addresses and then, also through chance operations, arranging these into 49 groups of three.

NYPL catalog record

Date [year]: 
1977
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Manuscript Excerpt: Etudes Australes

The title "Etudes Australes," its published introduction explains, "comes from Atlas australis, a book of star maps which was used in the compositional process."

NYPL catalog record

Date [year]: 
1974
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Manuscript Excerpt: Europeras 1&2

The title "Euoperas 1&2" represents a combination of "Europe" and "Opera." Each musical and non-musical element — such as stage direction, lighting, costumes, and props — operate independently from one another according to chance operations. The work, produced by the Frankfurt Opera on December 12, 1987, consists of two parts of uneven length divided by a short film.

NYPL catalog record 1
NYPL catalog record 2

Date [year]: 
1987
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Manuscript Excerpt: Atlas Eclipitcales

The score contains musical "events," each built from one to 10 notes. The size of notes indicates their amplitude, while their duration is indicated above each event. Performers derive the notes by superimposing a musical staff over the 1950 Czech star map of the same.

NYPL catalog record

C.F Peters record

Date [year]: 
1961
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"Chess Pieces," interpreted by Pierre Malbos

Description: 

Pierre Malbos performs Cage's "Chess Pieces" (1943) at the Abbey of Royaumont, France.

About the Archive

"The world is teeming; anything can happen." — John Cage
Welcome to a living archive featuring narrated performance videos professional musicians, students, and performers from all walks of life. Watch, listen to, and compare artistic interpretations. Get an up-close look at rare John Cage manuscripts housed at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. Most important, submit your own video: how do you bring Cage's music to life? We welcome you to enter — and join — John Cage Unbound: A Living Archive.

"Variations III," interpreted by Motion Ensemble

Description: 

The group Motion Ensemble rehearses John Cage's "Variations III," on May 9, 2007. Motion has performed "Variations I, II and III" on mixed programs in Fredericton, Sackville, Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg, Sudbury, Windsor, Calgary, Edmonton, St. John's, New York City and other locations.

Artist Name: 
Motion Ensemble
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