And it’s Birdcage Vs. HPSCHD—two original compositions from that great American musical inventor and electronic musician John Cage. Both pieces feature classic Cage components like chance-controlled melody and rhythm, and environmental sounds. But who will come out on top? A one-hour piece featuring tapes from aviaries, oral fragments of Henry David Thoreau’s Walden, and ambient street noise, where a computer randomly selects which sound will be played? Or, a three-hour bombastic show of musical intensity, featuring seven amplified harpsichords playing computer-generated versions of Mozart, among other composers, mixed in with the sounds of 51 trumpets’ off-key blasts, overlaid with images and colours from slides of space borrowed from NASA.
Outcome uncertain? Torontoist thinks so too. But tomorrow in the OCAD Auditorium, the match will be decided. As part of the 30th anniversary celebration of Musicworks magazine and with the support of the Electronic Music Foundation (EMF), the four-hour presentation will be orchestrated by original Cage collaborators Joel Chadabe (sound), David Eisenman (visuals), and Donald Gillies. Performers include pianist Eve Egoyan and experimental rock group Pere Ubu member Robert Wheeler.
Feeling a little overwhelmed? Audience members are encouraged to come and go as they please, and after two hours of dissonance, a smoke break may start to look mighty appealing.
The performance takes place Wednesday, June 11th, in the OCAD Auditorium, 100 McCaul Street, from 7–11 p.m, as part of the soundaXis festival. Tickets are $20 at the door.
Image courtesy of A Man Called Wrycraft