Tudor sat down at the piano, placed the score in the stand, took out a stopwatch, and closed the lid over the keys.
He started the stopwatch. 30 seconds later, he opened the lid, then closed it back over the keys.
He did the same thing 2 minutes and 23 seconds later, turning the pages of the score all the while, performing each of the actions as quietly as possible.
And a minute and 40 seconds after that, he stood as if to receive applause. In all, 4 minutes and 33 seconds had elapsed in which Tudor played no notes.
You have to wonder if the folks in the front row noticed that the staves on the score were blank.
Kyle Gann is a musicologist and composer
He’s written about some of the most important musical figures of the 20th century: Robert Ashley, Charles Ives and, of course, John Cage.
No Such Thing As Silence views Cage’s singular work from two vantage points – macrocosm and microcosm. Topics as disparate as Muzak and Zen Buddhism, figures as diverse as Marcel Duchamp and Hamlet weave together with simple every day sounds: rain pattering on the roof, a frog jumping into a pond, the clatter of the audience getting up from their seats and walking out.