Music

A Free Download You Won't Be Able To Keep Quiet About

a volume knob turned all the way up

hide captionCareful listening: With the volume turned all the way up — that's the only way to listen to one of this week's free downloads from iTunes.

iStockphoto.com

If you've never signed up for an account at the iTunes Store, now's the time, because among this week's standard handful of free songs, videos and audiobook excerpts is one of the landmark compositions of the Twentieth Century.

That's right: for a limited time, you can own your very own copy of John Cage's 4'33" for nothing. The timing's a little suspect — it's not April 33 yet — and the audiophiles will surely argue over whether Apple's proprietary file format captures the piece with the same warmth and fidelity of vinyl.

But whoever wrote the description really understands the true essence of Cage's work, and the passage from 0:23-0:29 is genuinely gripping if you'll allow it underneath your skin. (No, really.) (No. Really.) Because it's only the first movement, though, it feels like it's over before it starts, just as it rises to a harrowing climax starting at 1:35. For the rest, you'll have to pony up another $1.98. Well-played, iTunes.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Support comes from: