Witness to a 639 year-long concert
Halberstadt Travel Blog› entry 10 of 13 › view all entries
July 22nd, 2008 – by: Polar15
About 100 people gathered to watch us sing. Not a bad crowd, considering there was no advertisement. After the concert, our group was given the opportunity to go into the loft that holds a pipe organ with almost 5000 pipes. Halberstadt is famous for another reason, it was the first city where the modern pipe organ was invented. Herr Heinrich, the music director of the Dom, played a Bach piece for us on the organ at the church.
When we left the church, a wonderful gentleman, who's name escapes me at the moment, guided us through the streets of Halberstadt to an old monastery, now home to the John Cage Project. I don't know the entire history of John Cage, but what I found out yesterday is that he is a radical musician most famous for his composition, "4:33." Basically he sat at a piano for 4 minutes and 33 seconds and played nothing. His explanation of the piece was that the sounds of the world around the stage and audience were the music, inspired by an artist who presented blank canvases at exibitions.
Cage composed a piece for piano called ASLAP, As Slow as Possible. He later rewrote it for organ. The piece consists of 8 parts that can be repeated any number of times. The premire was 29 minutes long and the second was 71 minutes. The funny thing about this piece is that Cage never specified a specific amount of time for the piece. So a group got together and discussed the philosophy of as slow as possible. The decided that the piece would start in the year 2000 and last until 2639, 639 years. The first organ was built in 1361, 639 years before 2000. Hence the number 639. The longest sustained note will last about 58 years. Pretty cool, huh?
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!