12 December: La Monte Young’s peculiar stage directions

Every day throughout Advent, the season of overindulgence, we’ll be telling a tale of an overindulgent composer


Composer: La Monte Young

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How indulgent: Innovatively indulgent

How: ‘Compositions 1960’, a set of piano and performance art pieces by avant-garde composer La Monte Young, emphasises some indulgent visual actions to accompany the music. In his ‘Piano Piece for David Tudor #1’, Young instructs the performer to ‘bring a bale of hay and a bucket of water onto the stage for the piano to eat and drink. The performer may then feed the piano or leave it to eat by itself. If the former, the piece is over after the piano has been fed. If the latter, it is over after the piano eats or decides not to.’

Did you know:   Perhaps there is a reason for Young’s unusual instructions. He recorded that the time of composition was 2.10am.

Now indulge yourself with….. ‘Sunday Morning Dreams’

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The title of this piece may make this hectic time of year a little easier by helping you remember when on earth the big day falls. Christmas Eve will fall on a Sunday this year!