• Find us on Facebook
  • Follow us on Twitter
  • Follow us on Instagram
  • View Our YouTube Channel
  • Listen on Spotify
  • View our scores on nkoda
Music Text

John Cage (E)

Abbreviations (PDF)


Boosey & Hawkes / Bote & Bock

This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.

Composer's Notes

Is it? is based on a short text in "Composition as Progress/III. Communication" out of the book "Silence" by John Cage. This text that Cage lectured in its readings comprises 56 short questions whose order is calculated and amounted through chance operations. I have deliberately left this text unchanged in its sequence and gave each question a period of 11 seconds. The ritual sequence of these simple questions is what the singer attempts to gradually free herself from within the strict music. These questions of Cage have an uncanny power. Cage gives no answers, yet it presses further, like in a ritual. The questions want to know what we actually hear. Therefore, in my characteristic way, the music is partly supporting the questions and partly seeking an answer. (Thomas Kessler)

Recommended Recording

Sylvia Nopper & Marcus Weiss
Musiques Suisses MGB CTS-M98

Stay updated on the latest composer news and publications