I'd like to kiss whoever at Apple decided to do this: today's free iTunes "discovery download" is the first movement of avant-garde composer John Cage's 4'33", which is to say, it's 1:46 of nothing.

More performance art/zen seance than actual music, 4'33" is intended to emphasize those critical moments of nothingness in music by being composed of only that nothingness. The piece becomes whatever background sounds are present during a performance, making it probably the truest expression of Cage's "everything is music" milieu.


And if you think downloading the piece from iTunes is more on the absurd side, check out this live performance, complete with full orchestra (turning blank pages) and audience. After each movement, the coughing, the coughing. Great stuff.

And this, clearly, is a performance John Cage would never have conceived of when he created the piece in the 1950s, but one he would enjoy very, very much, I think:


Whether Cage would be happy he was made the butt of what appears to be an April Fool's Day joke though is another matter. [iTunes via MacUser]

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