Below, if this works right, is John Cage’s 4′ 33″, in a lavish production:
[Edit: Evidently not. Just click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUJagb7hL0E – We’ll wait for you to come back.]
I’m sure there are many things that could be said in Cage’s favour. I cannot actually think of them, but I’m sure they exist. However, I myself see this performance as a sign of the complete atrophy of quality control in the modern classical music scene, where pretending to like the indefensibly pretentious and awful is sufficient, and actually liking music a sign that you are hopelessly unhip.
Perhaps one could make this work. For instance, you could suddenly break into Rick Astley after three minutes, treating this with all the respect it deserves. You could announce afterwards, “Well, wasn’t that nice. I’m sure we can all feel very cultured now, now that we actually convinced ourself that something so stupid was worth putting on and paying all these highly talented men and women to be here for. Right, let’s remind these people what good music is. Pull out the Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto scores from last night’s concert.” You could break into one of Gilbert and Sullivan’s songs poking fun of pretentiousness.
Just don’t break into any more songs by John Cage.