Spielzeit 26.08. - 09.10.

Buddha goes to Bayreuth

An evening with music by John Cage and a world premiere by Robert Moran

Musical Director



John Cage

Song Books
Ryoanji for any 20 instruments
– in a version for 20 strings and solo soprano

Robert Moran

Buddha Goes to Bayreuth
for 2 choirs and 2 string orchestras
world premiere

John Cage’s music has proved in his own cheerfully laughing way that the notion of what a work could be which had been previously was now discredited. He has demonstrated that the concepts music and musical composition are by no means the same thing. In this, John Cage has had a devastating and lasting impact on the Western understanding of what composition is. He has rejected all hierarchical structures and competences, in everyday life as well as in his music. New music’s engagement with non-European religions enriched this exceptional composer in one decisive way: he never made any of those doomed attempts to imitate the music of non-European religions with the techniques of new music, as is so often the case in so-called world music. Instead he wrote music which was the convincing result of an authentic absorption of Zen Buddhism.

Song Books from the year1970 is a collection of 92 highly varied solo songs, which can be performed individually and in many different combinations. A famous Zen garden in Kyoto has given the piece Ryoanji which was created between 1973 and 1975 its name. From the many possible casts which John Cage regarded as possible for this work, a version for 20 strings and solo soprano will be presented.

Buddha Goes to Bayreuth is the title American Robert Moran has given his commission from ChorWerk Ruhr for the Ruhrtriennale 2011. Moran, a student of Hans Apostel and colleague of John Cage, has created a many-sided range of work ranging from highly conceptual city compositions such as 39 Minutes for 39 Autos to conventionally written scores. With Buddha Goes to Bayreuth Moran refers explicitly to Richard Wagner’s idea that the roots of Christianity are to be found less in Judaism than in Buddhism. The piece uses chords from Parsifal and is written for a double chorus and double string orchestra.

Buddha goes to Bayreuth is a ChorWerk Ruhr commission for the Ruhrtriennale.

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ChorWerk Ruhr – excerpt from Four²
(composer: John Cage)

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Private live recording of the concert »Schubert in New York« at the church St. Jacobi in Hamburg from the 31rd january 2010. Sung by ChorWerk Ruhr under the musical direction of Rupert Huber.

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