I had the privilege of seeing a So Percussion concert at Longy School of Music last night. It was A John Cage Celebration. When my friend invited me to use her husbands ticket I was totally excited as I LOVE John Cage's thoughts and ideas on art, sound, and music. In graduate school I read quite a few essays and chapters from his book Silence as well as listened to his performances in a sound class that I took. He was such an incredible innovator and mind.
So percussion is a quartet of percussion artists that pay homage to Cage by playing his compositions as well as creating their own compositions, education young percussionists, and celebrating other composers that owe their music to the legacy of Cage.
I knew the performance would be great but was not expecting it so be so awesome. Some highlights for me was the work "needles" composed by SO which was played on an amplified cactus. It was such an incredibly layered and excellent sound and then there was the utter visual pleasure of someone playing a living cacti! I also loved the Cage piece that was dubbed "the quietest drum quartet." The tension of these 4 players playing 12 drums and keeping it within this realm of soft and quiet was palpable and awesome. Other highlight moments were the sound of a random dropping paint bucket, the long sound of a bottle dripping its contents out, a conch shell being blown, and the simple and incredibly perfect sound of a can being spun on the floor. YOU should absolutely go see this excellent group perform if you ever get the chance you will be inspired.
Just in case you do not know Cage here is a glimpse into his great mind with just a few randomly picked quotes:
"The first question I ask myself when something doesn't seem to be beautiful is why do I think it's not beautiful. And very shortly you discover that there is no reason."
"If something is boring after two minutes, try it for four. If still boring, then eight. Then sixteen. Then thirty-two. Eventually one discovers that it is not boring at all."
"As far as consistency of thought goes, I prefer inconsistency."
"We carry our homes within us which enables us to fly. "
“Our intention is to affirm this life, not to bring order out of chaos, nor to suggest improvements in creation, but simply to wake up to the very life we're living, which is so excellent once one gets one's mind and desires out of its way and lets it act of it's own accord.”