ALDEBURGH BEACH

Vexations and The John Cage Egg

THE JOHN CAGE EGG a brand new poem by Ian McMillan was written especially for An Aldeburgh Musicircus and in particular response to ‘Vexations’, the piece of music by Erik Satie which, like John Cage, we performed 840 times in succession. 23 pianists took turns playing the piano on the first floor of the ArtHouse.  Each of the 840 eggs, many of them decorated by the artist Liza Adamczewski, was cooked to 4min 33sec John Cage perfection.

 

 

 

 

THE JOHN CAGE EGG

 

Now bring to the boil; listen, listen hard

As the bubbles burst suddenly, steam rises

 

Making silent shapes in the receptive air,

And the egg itself knocks rhythm, rhythms

 

Against the unthinking pan. The egg hardens

Into the kind of silence you can eat,

 

The kind of silence you can bring soldiers to,

The kind of silence you can put in, yes, an egg cup

 

And tap with a spoon. Resonant silence,

The best kind. Turn the egg-timer, slowly:

 

Boil the egg for exactly 4 minutes, 33 seconds;

No less, no more. Exact, exacting silence.

 

IAN MCMILLAN

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