Tuesday, February 6, 2007

10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Epworth-Euclid Church

Cleveland, OH


Joe Drew performed a 12-hour version of John Cage’s ASLSP (As SLow aS Possible) at the historic ‘Oil Can Church’ on Cleveland’s University Circle. Epworth-Euclid Church features a 1928 E.M. Skinner organ (specs).




John Cage, ASLSP



Joe Drew, Organ




Written in 1985 for the University of Maryland International Piano Festival and Competition, ASLSP stands for “As SLow(ly) and Soft(ly) as Possible”. The title also refers to the opening line in the final paragraph of Finnegan’s Wake, “Soft morning city. Lsp!”.


Bearing in mind the utter tedium of competition judging, John Cage thought his open score would be as much a challenge for performers as it would be a change of pace for the judges. The piece consists of eight small movements, one of which is to be omitted, and one of which is to be repeated at the performer’s discretion, a format which insured the competition judges would never hear the same performance twice.


OrganĀ²/ASLSP is currently being performed in Halberstadt, Germany over the course of 639 years. In the same epic tradition, Joseph Drew, a veteran of long form improvisation and performance with groups like numun and Loop 2.4.3, offers an experimental reading of the piece, which explores the full timbral range of the Epworth-Euclid organ.


Audience members are encouraged to use the sonic atmosphere to relax, read, meditate, sleep, or in whatever way they choose. They may freely come and go throughout the performance. — Rene Edmunds