Thanks to Brown's New Music Ensemble, the famous action scenes of the Nicolas Cage movie "Con Air" won't be scored to the sounds of "Sweet Home Alabama" this weekend. Instead, John Cage's avant-garde music will be the accompaniment in Saturday's "Cage Match," the ultimate face-off between the king of silence and the king of explosions.
"The name is a complete gimmick," said Alex Kruckman '10, one of the event's coordinators.
"But, it's going to be an awesome one."
"Cage Match" will pair up some of John Cage's compositions (including his most famous one, 4'33" — four minutes and 33 seconds of silence) with various moments from Nicolas Cage's most celebrated movies, including "Gone in 60 Seconds," "Snake Eyes," "Ghost Rider" and "National Treasure 2," said Alex Dupuis '10, the other coordinator.
"We have around 20 performers," Dupois said, including Dean of the College Katherine Bergeron and Associate Professor of Music Joseph "Butch" Rovan, who will present Cage's "Water Music."
Kruckman, who will also be performing, will use a prepared piano — that is, an instrument whose sound has been drastically changed by the placement of foreign objects, such as screws, in the strings, he explained.
"It's difficult to organize a prepared piano, a bit risky," Kruckman said. "But we've been really careful and plan to get the instrument tuned afterwards."
Dupuis will be performing Cage's "Imaginary Landscapes" using a computer. To honor what Dupuis called the composer's "spirit of randomly determining aspects of the piece," he hasn't chosen the film that will accompany his piece yet.
"Cage really experimented with the boundaries of classical music," Dupuis said.
The free event will take place in Grant Recital Hall at 8 p.m. Saturday.
And now for something completely different ...
In a sharp contrast to "Cage Match," the music department's other concert offering this weekend will be the Brown Chorus's performance of George Frideric Handel's 18th-century oratorio "Israel in Egypt" this Friday at 8 p.m. in Sayles Hall.
Under the direction of conductor Fred Jodry, a senior lecturer in music, the chorus will tell the "dramatic biblical story of the Jews fleeing out of captivity from Egypt," Jodry said.
"This piece features mostly the choir," he said. "It's very exciting and has very contrasting movements."
Jodry called the orchestra writing "wonderful" and the overall triumphant tone of the piece inspiring. "We'll have trumpets, strings and oboes along with a small baroque organ and three wonderful professional singers who are joining us."
Chorus President Sarah Baker '10 said the piece has been both fun and challenging to put on. "There's eight parts going on at the same time," Baker said, referring to Handel's multi-layered vocal writing. "We really have to listen to each other."
For Baker, the most exciting part of the rehearsal process was moving from the chorus' usual rehearsal space in Steinert Hall to singing in Sayles during the week leading up to the concert. The beauty of the building, combined with the "interesting acoustics," helps her not to be nervous about the upcoming show.
"We've worked really hard," she said. "It's going to be a great concert."
Tickets cost $10 ($5 with Brown ID) and are available in Orwig Music Building Room 101 and at the door one hour before the performance.
Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified the coordinators of "Cage Match" as Alex Kruckow '10 and Alex Dupois '10. Their names are Alex Kruckman and Alex Dupuis. The Herald regrets the error.