"Cage/Gould: Several Silences", Elie During - Vollmer W. Fries Lecture

"Cage/Gould: Several Silences", Elie During - Vollmer W. Fries Lecture

EMPAC Theater

November 17, 2012 5:00 PM - 6:15 PM

Glenn Gould's obsession with control, his crystalline, X-ray renderings of the contrapuntal texture of Bach's fugues, may seem miles away from John Cage's commitment to the principles of indeterminacy and interconnectedness in the composition and performance of experimental music. Gould wittily described Cage as a hero of American primitivism, a musical Thoreau, an anarchist fond of I-Ching and astrology. Yet there are more than accidental resonances between the "Idea of North" and the "Idea of Chance". Cage famously welcomed all kinds of sound in the musical process, but he had studied at one time with Schönberg. His embrace of chance operations was in part motivated by a distrust of improvisation: the expression "prepared piano" speaks for itself. As for the experimental side of Gould, it is apparent in his quirky affection for the "harpsi-piano" as much as in his creative use of recording technology. In order to explore the convergences and divergences between these two iconoclastic figures of 20th century music, the lecture will focus on the meaning and role of silence—of several silences—in their respective work.


Elie During studied philosophy at the Ecole Normale Superieure (Paris) and is now Associate Professor and Chair of the Philosophy Department at University of Paris-Ouest Nanterre. His current research focuses on the philosophical implications of the spacetime concept, at the crossroads of aesthetics (music, cinema, architecture), metaphysics and the philosophy of science. He contributed to the critical edition of Henri Bergson's complete works (Duree et Simultaneite [Duration and Simultaneity], PUF, 2009, and Memory of the Present [Le souvenir du present], PUF, 2012). His publications include Faux Raccords [Jump Cuts] (Actes Sud, 2010), Les Temps flottants [Floating Times] (forthcoming, Bayard, 2013), Bergson et Einstein: la querelle du temps (forthcoming, PUF, 2013). Elie During is a member of the editorial board of Critique and a series editor of "Metaphysiques" (Presses Universitaires de France).

Following the lecture, at 8:00 pm the Rensselaer Contemporary Music Ensemble performs a special concert "Gould/Cage", also in the EMPAC Theater.

FREE and open to the public

Add to calendar