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Aldeburgh: Musicians munched through 840 eggs during 11.5-hour music marathon at Aldeburgh Festival

10:48 25 June 2014

Aldeburgh Musicircus Festival event at The Aldeburgh Lookout.
Cad Taylor and Jon Halls taking a look at the egg installation which was based around the piece of music 'Vexations'.

Aldeburgh Musicircus Festival event at The Aldeburgh Lookout. Cad Taylor and Jon Halls taking a look at the egg installation which was based around the piece of music 'Vexations'.


Musicians repeated the feat of avant garde composer John Cage in playing a piece of piano music 840 times in a row – and added a little egg-stra ingredient to the artistic feast.

The result was not just an 11.5-hour musical marathon for residents and visitors to Aldeburgh to enjoy hearing as they walked along the seafront, but 840 eggs to be eaten, too.

The idea for the event was inspired by Cage’s performance of Vexations, a short piece of music written by Erik Satie.

For the Aldeburgh Musicircus, being held during the Aldeburgh Festival, 23 musicians took to the piano to play the piece 840 times from 10am to 9.30pm at Aldeburgh Beach ArtHouse.

Meanwhile, across the road at the Aldeburgh Beach Lookout, there were 840 eggs ready to eat, each boiled for four minutes 33 seconds, the same length of time as it takes to play Vexations. The eggs were decorated by artist Liza Adamczewski and given out free to all to enjoy.

Meanwhile, a poem by poet Ian McMillan called The John Cage Egg was recited periodically during the performance on Sunday.

Caroline Wiseman, founder of the Aldeburgh Beach Lookout and ArtHouse, said: “Ian’s poem inspired me to dream up the crazy notion of boiling 840 eggs for precisely four minutes 33 seconds.

“Vexations was performed on the piano in the first floor drawing room of the ArtHouse, and with the windows open it could be heard by passers-by on Crag Path.”

Pianists invited to play included the artistic director of the Aldeburgh Festival Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Humphrey Burton and Peter Dickinson.

In the Lookout, three artists, Clementine Keith-Roach, Florence Uniacke and Silas Brown, presented an art installation inspired by John Cage involving chance, deconstruction, process, experiment and translation.

The ArtHouse also exhibited a painting which had been inspired by Cage’s work called Puddle Painting: Whoop, by Turner Prize nominee Ian Davenport.

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