Talking, then, of the musical composition John Cage himself considers 'his most important work'. You know what this sounds like, and if you don't then be quiet for four minutes and thirty-three seconds and you'll get a sense of it. Two thoughts about the title, though.
Do we take it 'seriously'? That what is significant about '4'33"' is its implied trajectory of 'falling away'?--from 4 to 3 to 3 to (we extrapolate) 2 and 2 and 2, and four '1's, like the pillars in a temple of silence, and so towards the emptines and silence of '0'?
I prefer the second reading: the jokey one. Underpinning this piece of 'empty' music is a grosser, more material and indeed bathetic sense of 'emptiness'. From a composer called John we turn to the gospel of John, 4:33 and discover: 'Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat?'
Silence is holy, and spiritual; but silence is also all the ambient rustling and coughing and grumbling of stomachs. Silence is also a trope for: 'hey, I'm peckish.'