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John Cage: The Wonderful Widow of Eighteen Springs

I remember meeting Justine Aronson in a cafe in midtown and immediately inviting her to a party at my house that night. She’s just that kind of person. Turns out she’s a great singer too, and will sing half our show with NYFOS.

I really adore this little John Cage song, “The Wonderful Widow of Eighteen Springs.” It’s a setting of Joyce’s Ulysses and goes against every kind of traditional text setting I can think of -— it sort of deals with Joyce words but not really, it’s just cycles through the same pitches over and over again. And yet it works — the almost Virgil Thomson-like plainness of the music lets me soak up the text and the inherent musicality in the words (I was once told if you don’t understand Joyce, read it aloud).

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