John Cage and Morton Feldman - Radio Happenings – Conversations 1966-1967
244-page hardcover book with complete transcription of the legendary “Radio Happenings” (in English & new German translation), four open-ended conversations between the two at the studios of radio station WBAI in New York, produced between July 1966 and January 1967. On the audio DVD (duration around 5 hours): the complete broadcasts in remastered sound.
It feels like eavesdropping.. two of the most brilliant minds and personalities of the 20th century talking about the ideas, music, people, philosophy, art – and much, much more – that matter to them. The half-century that went by since these conversations, disappears when you’re listening.
It’s also a record of a deep friendship that began (as you can hear about 1hr 50mins in), as Cage says, with Webern, when “we both walked out of a Philharmonic concert in which Webern had just been played, and we shared the desire not to hear anything else because we had been so deeply moved”.
As well as meditations on “intrusion” – Cage wants Feldman to accept unintended sounds in his music and in his life, or how to approach composition for the harpsichord, or whether Varèse is as equivalently or differently influential as Webern, you also hear the pauses, tics, and mannerisms in the way both of them talk. Listen to Feldman’s New York drawl, and his striking of match after match for the cigarettes he chain-smokes, or Cage’s gently but firmly interrogative “mmm?” at the end of many of his sentences, and their infectious laughter.
Both were on the cusp of some of their most important creative periods (Cage was in his mid-50s, Feldman in his early 40s).
Introductionary text by Christian Wolff.
Coproduction with Mode in USA.