Evening Quiz: Rafael Betancourt or John Cage?

Below is an audio clip that is either an audio clip of an avant-garde work by late American composer John Cage or the result of an attempt by the author to record, this afternoon, a conversation with Rockies closer Rafael Betancourt regarding the latter’s tendency (documented last August by Jeff Sullivan) to work almost exclusively on the outside corner of the strike zone to left-handed batters — except, instead of that conversation, is only silence for reasons likely owing to the author’s incompetence.

Below the audio clip is a quiz of some consequence, which the reader is invited to take.

To wit:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

And to even further wit:






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Carson Cistulli occasionally publishes spirited ejaculations at The New Enthusiast.


10 Responses to “Evening Quiz: Rafael Betancourt or John Cage?”

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  1. Simon says:

    I didn’t listen to anything because I lacked the appropriate plugin.
    I then took the quiz and checked neither of the boxes.
    I was told that I had provided an incorrect answer.
    I’m perplexed.

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  2. Your quiz answer is incorrect. 4’33” is a work that, by its very nature, can be and has been performed by many an unwitting artist – and, indeed, the fact that this clip lasts 4’44” is not a sign that it is not 4’33”, but rather a sign that the performers have chosen a daringly slow tempo for their interpretation.

    Works of art such as this do, of course, accommodate many artistic points of view, and Cistulli/Betancourt’s broad conception of Cage’s art brings to mind the classic 1978 recording of 4’33” by Claudio Abbado and the Orchestre de Paris, although it lacks the urgency and taut emotional resolve of my favourite performance, that by the Emerson String Quartet, pianist Menahem Pressler, and their cab driver, on a surround-sound Telarc disc from 1998.

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    • To your point: Rafael Betancourt, known for being deliberate, plays 4’33″ in something like six or seven minutes.

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      • airfigaro says:

        I thought maybe the extra time was the time it took him to get to the piano. However I didn’t hear him adjust the bench or make any page turns. I hope I passed the Quiz.

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      • The Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees pitching staffs collaborated on a recording of 4’33” which lasts 140’33”, because they paused for an average of thirty seconds between each notation of silence.

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  3. Mike Bates says:

    I don’t understand why it can’t be both.

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  4. Del B. Vista says:

    You made me pause the Jane’s Addiction album I was stealing, I mean, listening to on Spotify to try to hear that, reminding me of the tinnitus I suffer from. You bastard.

    And there’s still 2:44 left.

    You bastard.

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  5. AlexandertheMeh says:

    At first I thought it was just the first 4:44 of “Once Upon A Time In The West”…but I didn’t hear the windpump squeaking.

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  6. Peter R says:

    Totally came to this article expecting it to be about Johnny Cage from Mortal Kombat. I was sorely disappointed.

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  7. PJCJ says:

    The silence is deafening. Reminds one on the 18 minute break in the Watergate tapes. Richard Nixon was involved wasn’t he and obviously paranoid about your renowned talent, so consequently erased said exchange!

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