John Cage (1912-1992)

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1. Lecture On Nothing, for speaker (41:04)

Performed by Frances-Marie Uitti
View score of "Lecture on Nothing" (1959) [PDF, 2.4mb]

From the album Frances-Marie Uitti "Works for Cello; Lecture on Nothing", (EtCetera Records, 1991)

John Cage's "Lecture on Nothing," published in his collection Silence in 1961, is scored to a rigorous regularity: 48 units of 12 lines and 48 measures each. The text itself is repetitive and at times excruciatingly boring, dwelling in Section IV on the tonic phrase "If anybody is sleepy, let him go to sleep."The text is intoned in time, as per Cage's incongruous instructions: "[not] in an artificial manner...but with the rubato which one uses in everyday speech."