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Work Title
Music for The City Wears a Slouch Hat
Alt. Title
City Wears a Slouch Hat
Alt. Title
Music for "The City Wears a Slouch Hat"
Composed in 1942. Premiered in Chicago, May 31, 1942.
Ensemble Type
Small Ensemble
Work Length
35 minutes
For four percussion and sound effects.
The subtitle of this work is "Incidental music for the radio play by Kenneth Patchen.” In 1941, Cage received a commission from CBS Radio to write music for a radio play. Initially, Cage composed the work based on his ideas involving electronic sound effects, assuming it could be realized in the CBS sound studios. A week before the radio broadcast, however, when Cage presented at the studios to make the recordings, he was told by the resident technician that what he wanted to do could not be done in the time allotted. Cage had to compose another work, just four days before the scheduled broadcast. The original manuscript is probably lost. The instruments called for include tin cans, muted gongs, woodblocks, alarm bells, tam tam, bass drum, Chinese tom tom, bongos, cowbells, maracas, claves, ratchet, pod rattle, foghorn, thunder sheet, sound-effect recordings, etc. The script recounts a surreal tale of a man called ‘The Voice' who wanders around a big city, meeting various characters and finding himself in mysterious circumstances. It was directed by Les Mitchell, and its actors were Les Tremayne, Madelon Grayson, Forrest Lewis, Jonathan Hole, Frank Dane, and John Larkin.
for Xenia
Peters Edition EP 67497