Thursday, January 11, 2007

12-hour Cage performance set in Cleveland

The last time New York musician Joseph Drew performed John Cage's ASLSP (As SLow as Possible), he made the piece last for nine hours.

That was too fast.

Drew is performing the piece again in Cleveland on Feb. 6, and this time he'll spend half a day on the work.

The free performance, scheduled from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 6, will be held on the organ of Epworth-Euclid United Methodist Church, 1919 E. 107th Pl. in Cleveland, Ohio.

The performance is in "artistic solidarity" with a performance taking place in Germany over the next 639 years.

Drew, a member of the ANALOG Arts Ensemble, is a graduate of Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea, Ohio. His previous performance, over a mere nine hours, took place at ANALOG's ARTSaha! festival.

"Listeners came and went over the course of the event. Students did their homework, some people ate their dinners in the hall, or took a nap. The organ's timbral possibilities create a really exciting, almost limitless, range of choices. When you get one of those sonorities going on a particular setting, the interaction between the overtones can sound otherwordly. One person in the Omaha audience asked me on a break if I had some kind of sound processor switched on," he said. (Audio from the last hour of the performance available here.)

"As you can imagine, if you've looked at the score, the sonorities last for minutes at a time. When you get inside the piece as a performer, it actually wasn't a lot of time per sonority; so, I'm looking forward to the chance to stretch it out a bit," he said.

I was confused about the upcoming performance. Did Drew mean he would "conduct" the piece, and supervise a rotation of other musicians?


"It's just me playing the piece for 12 hours," he said.

Drew, playing trumpet, also will lead the ANALOG ensemble in a concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 3, at Church of the Saviour, 2537 Lee Road, Cleveland Heights, Ohio. Tickets are $8 for adults, $5 for students, available at the door.

A press release explains:

"ANALOG arts ensemble performs a narrative recital titled Ordo Superman, after the legendary morality play by Hildegard. Premiered in 1192, Ordo Virtutum tells the tale of a Soul defended against the Devil by a troop of Virtues, such as Humility,and Chastity. Hildegard's chants will be performed by members of the Church of the Saviour Chancel Choir, while Drew performs an intoxicating mix of contemporary solo works, many written expressly for him. Included in the program will be two rarely-heard works from Karlheinz Stockhausen's massive seven-opera cycle LICHT, along with the music of Pauline Oliveros, Laurie Anderson, and Radiohead."

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