You can attend a special concert in the town of Halberstadt in Germany. It is an implementation of As slow as possible by John Cage. The implementation of this version will take 639 years. It thus transcends everything that a person can achieve in his life. We can only visit the play, experience a part of what is an eternity for us humans. The performance started in 2001 and will therefore last until 2640. The piece lasts 639 years because at the time the performance started it was 639 years ago that the first organ was made. Because that first organ was also made in Halberstadt, it is the place where the performance is now taking place. The first organ was put into use in 1361. When you consider what has happened in Germany since that day, it is almost unimaginable that people dare to do this. Since 1361 the Thirty Years' War has raged in Germany, Napolean passed by on his way to Moscow and the misery ended with two world wars. So it's very optimistic to say now the next 639 we're going to have a concert . The concert is an expression of the confidence that it can also be played without interruption for the next 600 years.
John Cage actually did not intend the piece for such a long performance. The piece was intended to be performed on a piano. It is also not so slow to play on a piano that it takes years. But with an organ there is no limitation. As long as there is air pressure on the organ pipes, they produce a tone. This offers the possibility to play the piece really as slowly as possible. The concert started with a silence of a few years, after which the organ played continuously. A change of tone is performed once every few years. The organ will then play a different note. The organ is also not complete. Only the pipes for the currently played note, and perhaps the next note, are on the organ. Pipes that are no longer needed are removed from the organ and placed in the side aisles of the church. There are already a few pipes that have been used for the first tones. The organ is therefore never finished during the concert.
It is not yet entirely clear what the concert will sound like in the future. There are a number of moments of choice when future generations can decide what to play next. Like many minimal music pieces as slow as possible leaves choices to the performers what exactly is being played.
The same tone continuously sounds through the church when you attend the church. The realization that that one note is only a very small part of a piece of music that goes on long after you die makes the church a very meditative place. IN the church there are pictures on which people have put a message. You can buy such a picture to convey your own message to future listeners. The website of the concert tells more about the concert, the piece and when you can listen to it.Geotag (location) for: