The Slowest Jam The Slowest Jam
Culture

The Slowest Jam

by Andrew Price

January 9, 2010
When the avant-garde composer John Cage noted that his eight-page 1985 composition "Organ²/ASLSP" should be played as slowly as possible, he might have guessed his acolytes would push the boundaries.A performance by the Towson University associate professor Diane Luchese in February of 2009 lasted nearly 15 hours. Luchese took breaks from the organ during the piece's rests. But for sheer, unblinking fidelity to concept, nothing is likely to top the performance ongoing in Halberstadt, Germany.The Halberstadt performance began in 2000 with a 17-month rest and will conclude in 2639, barring unforeseen interruptions. An organ in the St. Burchardi Church was outfitted with a powered bellows to keep notes sounding for months at a time, and pipes are added or removed when the score calls for a chord change (the shortest notes last a few months, the longest a few decades).A website devoted to the Halberstadt performance features a live feed of the organ, but after a few minutes the feed brought an otherwise nimble iMac to a grinding halt. A "news" page on the site was last updated in July, 2008.The next note of the concert, if you want to catch it, is scheduled for July 5, 2010.
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The Slowest Jam