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Alla ricerca del silenzio perduto


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3 Escursioni su treno preparato, variazioni su tema di Tito Gotti




Dear Tito Gotti,
It was a pleasure to meet you and spend the day with you in Bologna. And to ride on the train.
I now make the following proposal:
1) That the "happening" have the title ALLA RICERCA DEL SILENZIO PERDUTO with the subtitle 3 excursions in a prepared train, variations on a theme by Tito Gotti by John Cage with the assistance of Juan Hidalgo and Walter Marchetti. And that the three "movements" be listed (on programs or detailed announcements) each with its own date, time-table, destinations and stops en route in such a way as to suggest a musical work;

2)Where N=the number of cars carryng the public, that a sound system having N.x 2 channels be installed so that each car would have two loudspeakers (A and B). NA speakers will receive signals from N microphones picking up noises (squeaks, rattles, etc. --not conversation) from the interior of each car. Switching means (but neither volume nor on-off controls) below (or near) A and B enabling a passenger to switch from any one of the N channels to any other. This sound system would operate from the moment of any departure until the moment of any arrival. At a stop of a destination (but not at the end of the round-trip) the same system would be switched abrubtly from NA and B to C and D speakers placed exteriorly on top of each car, C 1/4 the length of a car from one end of it, D 1/4 the length of the car from the other end of it, NC speakers receiving signals from any one of a supply of N x N or preferably N x N x 2 cassettes prepared by Hidalgo and Marchetti from sound environmental to the RR station in Bologna) played on any one of N cassette machines placed in one of the two freight cars central to the train (and open to public), or in one part of a single freight car. In the other freight car or other part of the same freight car another set of N cassette machines will be used to play any one of an equally large supply of cassettes prepared by Hidalgo and Marchetti from recordings of the region local to the stop representing the people living there, their work, their music, the noises and sounds, "musical" or not, of their daily life, week-ends and Sundays. These cassettes will be transmitted by ND speakers. The public will be informed of its freedom to start and stop and change cassettes during the stop in the station.

3)In the spaces around the station there will be as many television sets as there are TV channels, each tuned to a different station, each placed at at height of about 8' (so that they are easily visible above a standing public). In addition there will be as many live performing musicians or groups of musicians as are willing to play simultaneously and as can (in terms of a budget) be afforded. These groups should be genuinely of the neightborhood of the station, reperesnting the life of the place and its culture. The station itself should present an exhibition of the arts and crafts of the people who actually live in that town or part of town. And the normal services of food and drink should be available or even be made unusually festive.

4)At a scheduled time the PA system of the station will be used to reiteratively announce the train's departure, and all other usual means - whistles, shouts, etc. - will be used so that the public returns to the cars, during which time there will be no diminishing of the performances, live from the station yard, and recorded from the NC and D speakers, or broadcast from the TV stations. However, the moment the train actually starts there will be an abrupt switching from cassette machines as sound sources to microphones as sound sources and from exterior speakers NC and D to interior speakers NA and B.

5)Should some of the performers from the community come aboard the train continuing to play, sing, or dance, they should be welcomed.Omnibus means should be available from one stop to the next just in case some of the public failed to board the train. And taxi means should be available for those who decide for some reason to change their plans.

The above is my basic proposal. I can imagine also the following which may be included or not as you choose.

a)Food and drink should be available in the station from which the first departure is made.

b)In the station an orchestra of any 23 instruments having three conductors(Marcello Panni, jaun Hidalgo, and Walter Marchetti) playing my composition Etcetera (score and parts available through C.F.Peters) for the hour preceding the departure. This music involves a stereo tape recording and environmental sound including airplanes passing above which should be heard from speakers placed above the station floor or yard.

c)These musicians would join the public, taking the trip on the train. They should be distributed more or less equally (or according to the needs of their repertoires (memorized), solo or emsemble (e.g. Hidalgo and Marchetti need the presence of Esther Ferrer in order to perform the Zay Group) in the N cars at the time of the departure (being the last to board the train). Once there they would play from time to time any peices they knew by heart.

with best wishes
John Cage