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Revisiting “Gimmick” Pieces, Part II: Cage – 4’33”

Much of John Cage’s work pokes holes in concert traditions or basic art constructs. In 4’33” he turns the mirror on the audience so that instead of hearing music, they hear themselves. Today, 4’33” is traditionally viewed as the ultimate gimmick. A silent piece. A piece containing no “music.” You could argue that it’s not […]

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Revisiting “Gimmick” Pieces, Part I: Satie – Vexations

In this two-part series, I’ll be exploring two pieces that some would classify as novelties, gimmicks, or jokes. Are they valid pieces of music? Are they beautiful? Let’s find out. Satie – Vexations Ah yes, Erik Satie. He of the green velvet suits and fondness for absinthe. You might know him as the composer of […]

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Hidden Gems: Brahms – Rhapsody in E-flat Major, Op. 119, No. 4

Every once in a while I wake up in the middle of the night with a horrible realization: I haven’t been talking about Brahms enough. So here I am to keep making the case for Brahms’s piano music. I first heard this piece when I was about ten years old and just starting to really […]

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