Magazine article Gramophone

Scheffer's Re-Cut Film as Well as Five of Cage's Own

Magazine article Gramophone

Scheffer's Re-Cut Film as Well as Five of Cage's Own

Article excerpt

Cage ((DVD))

'How to Get Out of the Cage: A Year with John Cage'

A film by Frank Scheffer

EuroArts (F) (DVD-V) 205 9168

(144' * NTSC * 16:9/4:3 * PCM stereo * 0 * s)

If, as the naysayers and cynics maintain, no one could possibly be interested in actually, you know, listening to the music of John Cage, then fewer people still are likely to take any interest in the experimental films that Cage made towards the end of his life. This (DVD) contains five of those films--Chessfilmnoise, Wagner's Ring, Nopera, Ryoanji and Stoperas I & II--an appendix to How to Get Out of the Cage: A Year with John Cage, a new version of a film originally produced in 1987 which director Frank Scheffer has re-edited for the past year's Cage centenary. That 1987 film paired Cage with Elliott Carter but this new version leaves all the Carter material on the cutting room floor. Scheffer eschewed his usual method of cutting his Cage films using chance procedures; the aim here was to 'inform' and to 'appeal to a younger audience'.

It's job done as far as those aspirations are concerned. He clearly enjoyed talking to Scheffer and, even by Cage's standards, the juicy quotes come thick and fast. 'I make music not as a composer but as a listener too,' Cage tells him, the inference being that he wants sounds to have life beyond his input as composer: he too wants to be surprised by how his structures might develop over time. During a discussion about Arnold Schoenberg's famous statement about him having no ear for harmony, Cage says he's interested in 'noise' that is 'beyond the scope of harmony'. …

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