Nasher Sculpture Center presents Soundings: John Cage’s Sonatas and Interludes
A case could be made that 4’33” is still the most discussed work by 20th Century giant, John Cage. The work of silence is still the subject of furious debate over six decades later. However it was several years before, in Sonatas and Interludes, where Cage’s ideas really came into focus.
The controversial and willful tampering of his instrument, or “prepared piano,” saw Cage as both a fearless innovator and a target of traditionalist critics. The work was inspired by the rasa concept found in Indian aesthetics, which refers to the “black emotions” and “white emotions” inspired by a particular performance. The various feelings ideally culminate in that most evasive state: Tranquility.
Cage’s work attempts to lure the audience towards such divinity over the course of 16 sonatas and four interludes, in what as widely seen as his masterpiece. The highly detailed preparation of the piano takes nearly as long as the 70-minute work itself, and pianist Boris Berman will perform the work in its entirety, a rare privilege.