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Last Updated: Monday, 12 January, 2004, 17:23 GMT
Radio 3 to air Cage's 'silence'
John Cage
John Cage died in 1992
The BBC Symphony Orchestra is to give a performance of composer John Cage's seminal piece 4'33" - nearly five minutes of complete silence.

BBC Radio 3 is to broadcast the entire composition live, even having to switch off its emergency system which cuts in when there is apparent silence.

The late avant-garde composer "wrote" the piece in 1952.

The performance takes place on Friday at London's Barbican Centre, as part of a weekend celebrating Cage's work.

TV viewers will also be able to watch the event when BBC Four broadcasts the concert, which also features works that music lovers will be able to hear.

Cage's reasoning for composing 4'33" was to demonstrate that "wherever we are what we hear mostly is noise".

His estate won a bizarre copyright battle in 2002, when composer Mike Batt agreed to pay a six-figure sum to a charity because his album featured a tongue-in-cheek silent track which he credited as co-written by Cage.

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