Translation of (excerpts from) articles appearing in La Stampa (Turin) relating to John Cage and "Lascia o Raddiopia" (Milan, 1959)

Selections and English translations by Stefano Pocci

from La Stampa, Friday, January 30 1959, n°26, page 4:

Second player: Mr John Cage, from New York, strange and futuristic music composer and performer. Mr Cage sat by a special piano tweaked with nails, screws, and elastic bands, drawing unusual chords from it. The piece was entitled "Amores" and it sounded like a funeral march. He participated as an expert of poisonous and edible mushrooms. He had no hesitation, hence he easily succeeded.

"John Cage, an American very fond of mushrooms, left a very good impression. The lanky player revealed that he had begun getting into mushrooms while walking in the Stony Point woods near his house. He is now in Italy to perform experimental music concerts and play an extremely weird composition of his made of shrilling squeaks and dreary rumbles via an expressly modified piano."

from La Stampa, Thursday, February 5 1959, n°31, page 6:

Tonight's quiz show second number features Mr. John Cage, a crossbreed between a baseball player and a marine. Mr. Cage, who has recently come to Italy to perform some experimental music concerts, was a sort of institution within New York university circles some time ago. Anywhere he went, students with a Jerry Lewis hairdo and their female mates in blue jeans forsook their books and gathered around a jukebox. That's where Cage showed his incredible capabilities: he goggled his eyes with a disappointed face, he opened his long arms up and uttered weird guttural sounds from his mouth. The students happily danced to the rock'n'roll music around him.

John Cage's tall figure, his Gary Cooper legs, assumed an amazing appearance and put up a scene that could be only comprehended within an American climate. But John Cage hasn't yet exhibited himself completely on "Lascia o Raddoppia." He's the kind of character that once he bursts out he's hard to hold back.

He once dragged a student marching band throughout the streets of New York, hazarding a bizarre imitation of what jazz used to be at the beginning: only the police managed to stop Cage's tumultuous enthusiasts. He might unveil his capabilities tonight when he performs his already announced experimental music concert. John Cage will face the 640.000 Lire quiz.

from La Stampa, Friday, February 6 1959, n°32, page 4:

John Cage, futuristic music composer and mycologist, has won the 640.000 Lire prize. Before entering the answering booth he performed a concert entitled "daily noises". Instruments: piano (scarcely used), two radios, a blender, a watering can, a washtub, a whistle, a little firecracker, and other strange tools. Result: a carnival bustle. The audience enjoyed the joke and applauded.

from La Stampa, Friday, February 6 1959, n°32, page 6:

Before facing the 640.000 Lire question – which he would brilliantly answer afterwards – John Cage performed an experimental music concert expressly composed for the Italian TV audience. The piece, if we could call it so, was entitled "Water Walk". The imaginative American used a kettle, a bathtub filled with water, a blender, a toy fish, a firecracker, a watering can, a seltzer bottle, a bunch of roses, a whistle and a couple of radios to execute it. The result of all this can be easily imagined. It seems that John Cage is about to repeat the piece in all the Italian cities he will go to perform his concerts. "After which – he funnily admitted backstage – I can commence my truck farming business".

from La Stampa, Thursday, February 12 1959, n°37, page 6:

Two players are running for the 1 million and 280.000 lire question: Vincenzo Maccarone in the operetta category and the American composer John Cage in the mushroom one. The long-legged young American with an open smile will perform again a brilliant solo (he's a quite appreciated composer among his family circle, totally into modern music rhythms). Last Thursday he obtained a personal success: his strange concert amused the TV audience.

from La Stampa, Friday, February 13 1959, n°38, page 4:

Last winning player: the American John Cage, composer of futuristic music. An already too much exploited odd character...

from La Stampa, Friday, February 13 1959, n°38, page 6:

Then the great ending featuring the American John Cage, who knows everything about mushrooms, took place. After he announced that there had been 180 people at his last concert in Padova, he introduced a funny recording of his last exhibition at "Lascia o Raddoppia". Basically, he made fun of the host, Mike Bongiorno, who looped into his "I got it, I got it". Cage was asked to indicate the size (in microns) of an enigmatic mushroom and after thinking a few seconds he answered: "From 12 to 15 microns".

from La Stampa, Thursday, February 19 1959, n°43, page 6:

2 million and 660.000 lire question: John Cage, an American mushroom expert who will surely perform another so-called experimental music concert of his.

from La Stampa, Friday, February 20 1959, n°44, page 4:

Another sloppy episode of "Lascia o Raddoppia." The players: ...and John Cage, the American composer of futuristic music (he got through).

from La Stampa, Thursday, February 26, 1959, n°49, page 4:

Two players arrived at the final 5 million and 120.000 lire question: Vincenzo Maccarone, a clerk from Rome (operetta), and John Cage, a composer from Stony Point (mushrooms).

from La Stampa, Thursday, February 26 1959, n°49, page 6:

Tonight's main event will be John Cage's (mushroom expert) final trial. Once again the American citizen, whose offbeat concerts are already known throughout the country, will perform another musical hit.

from La Stampa, Friday, February 27 1959, n°50, page 4:

Yesterday's quiz show has been sloppy despite a new brilliant player and John Cage's great finish...John Cage, the great American mushroom expert, looked a lot more determined. During the first question he had to complete the analytic key of the "poliporacee" (a mushroom species) from which four names were deleted. He did it without hesitation, as well as adding the name, color, shape, width and length of a particular mushroom whose picture was shown to him shortly after. Nevertheless, the very last question, the 5 million one, shook his nerves and turned his blood cold. John Cage had to spell the 24 names of the white-spored "agarici". Twenty-four questions in one! A very tough question, even for a real mushroom expert. However, John Cage – a little bit sweaty this time – quickly pronounced all of them in alphabetical order. A triumph! While he was receiving audience applause he thanked the mushrooms and all the people of Italy.