Folio and 4 Systems

Year 1954
Publisher AMP/G.Schirmer
Program Notes “Time is the actual dimension in which music exists when performed and is by nature an infinitely divisible continuum. No metric system or notation based on metrics is able to indicate all of the possible points in the continuum, yet sound may begin or end anywhere along this dimension.”

Similarly, all of the other characteristics of a sound — frequency, intensity, timbre, modes of attack-continuation-decay — are infinitely divisible continua and unmeasurable. The imposition of approximate scalar-systems is obviously possible and efficacious, but to deal directly with the experience of a continuum on its own unknown terms seems to imply that the unmeasuring eye and ear are their own terms and experiential justification and compatible with unmeasured experience. An ambiguous but implicitly inclusive graphic “notation,” and alert, sympathetic performers, are conceivable catalysts for activating this “process” within continua.

...to produce graphic situations, the implications of which would involve the performer’s response as a factor leading to multiple “characteristic” realizations of the piece as an audible event;...to extend and intensify the ambiguity inherent in any graphic representation and possible composer, performer, and audience response to it; a work, and any one performance of it, as “process” rather than as static and conclusive.

Two basic approaches:
a “mobile” score subject to physical manipulation of its components, resulting in an unknown number of different, integral, and “valid” realizations.
 
a conceptually “mobile” approach to basically fixed graphic elements; subject to an infinite number of performance realizations through the involvement of the performer’s immediate responses to the intentionally ambiguous graphic stimuli relative to the conditions of performance involvement.
 
Download the complete prefatory note as a PDF
More Information Indeterminate length and instrumentation. Also click the link below, "On December 1952," to hear Earle Brown speaking about FOLIO in 1970.

Four Systems was also used in Merce Cunningham's dance "Galaxy."
Audio Samples

On December 1952download


Four Systemsdownload


Selected Performances 1954-04-28 Carl Fischer Concert Hall, New York, NY
Soloist: David Tudor
World Premiere of Four Systems

1956-06-19 Washington Hall, The University of Notre Dame, Indiana
Ensemble: John Cage and David Tudor, pianos
This was a premiere performance of the Merce Cunningham dance "Galaxy" which used the music of 4 Systems

1957-04-30 Carl Fischer Concert Hall; New York, NY
4 Systems for four pianos; Ensemble: John Cage, Wiliams Masselos, Grete Sultan, David Tudor, pianos

1957-12-15 Paine Hall, Harvard University, Cambridge Massachusetts
Soloist: David Tudor

1958-03-15 University of North Carolina, Greensboro, North Carolina
Soloist: David Tudor

1959-12-10 Bennett College, Millbrook, NY
4 Systems performed by John Cage and David Tudor, pianos; for "Galaxy" a Merce Cunningham dance

1962-02-09 ONCE Festival, First Unitarian Church, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Ensemble: Toshi Ichiyanagi and La Monte Young, pianos

1965-05-21 2iéme Festival de la Libre Expression
Ensemble: Charlott Moorman, cello
Nam June Paik, piano

1971-11-12 New York University
The Juilliard Chamber Ensemble conducted by Earle Brown

1980-05-08 University of Maryland
The New Music Ensemble directed by Stuart Smith

1989-11-08 San Antonio
conducted by Earle Brown

1991-03-01 Frankfurt
 hr-Ensemble für Neue Musik; Goldstein, Malcolm

1991-08-13 Frankfurt
Soloist: NIls Vigeland, Eberhard Blum, Frances-Marie Uitti

1999-04-18 Staatsgalerie Stuttgart
Percussion Ensemble Stuttgart

2001-02-09 Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall
Soloist: Margaret Leng Tan

2001-02-10 Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall
Soloist: Joan La Barbara, voice; Margaret Leng Tan, piano; Flux Quartet

2007-04-17 Chelsea Art Museum, New York City
Ensemble: Nextworks

2008-10-28 New York City
Ensemble: Ne(x)tworks

2016-09-23 Frankfurt, Germany


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