POSTED: September 7, 2020
The Saint Burchardi Church in the city of Halberstadt started playing a piece of music by John Cage called As Slow As Possible on September 5, 2001, on what would have been John Cage’s 89th birthday.
a 1997 conference of musicians and philosophers discussed the implications of Cage’s instruction to play the piece “as slow as possible”, given that an organ imposes virtually no time limits. A project emerged to perform the piece for 639 years. A properly maintained pipe organ has no specific lifespan; the duration was chosen to commemorate the first documented permanent organ installation, in 1361 in the Halberstadt Cathedral, 639 years before the proposed start date of 2000.
The piece began with a pause that lasted until February 5, 2003, and the last note change took place in 2013. On September 6, 2020 (yesterday) another chord change took place, and a long queue of enthusiasts formed to enter the church and hear it.
The next chord change is scheduled for February 5, 2022. The piece itself will finish in 2640.
You can read more about the project here on the Classic.FM site.