Conversing with Cage by Richard Kostelanetz

By Richard Kostelanetz

Speaking with Cage attracts on over a hundred and fifty interviews with John Cage performed over 4 many years to attract a whole photo of his lifestyles and paintings. jam-packed with the witty aphorisms that experience made Cage as well-known as an esthetic thinker as a composer, the e-book bargains either an creation to Cage's state of mind and a wealthy accumulating of his many options on paintings, lifestyles, and music.
John Cage may be this century's such a lot radical classical composer. From his well-known "silent" piece (4'33") to his proclamation that "all sound is music," Cage stretched the cultured limitations of what should be played within the sleek live performance corridor. yet, greater than that, Cage used to be a provocative cultural determine, who performed a key function in inspiring rankings of different artists-and social philosophers-in the second one half the 20 th century. via his lifestyles and paintings, he created revolutions in pondering artwork, and its dating to the realm round us.
talking with Cage is the appropriate advent to this international, delivering within the artist's personal phrases his principles approximately existence and paintings. it's going to entice all enthusiasts of this mythic determine at the American scene, in addition to someone attracted to larger realizing twentieth century modernism.

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That’s a good idea; it is analogous to that desire on the part of Ives, to have a music that makes us stretch our ears. —Anthony Brown (1975) What was so thrilling about the notion of twelve-tone music was that those twelve tones were all equally important, that one of them was not more important than another. It gave a principle that one could relate over into one’s life and accept, whereas the notion of neoclassicism one could not accept and put over into one’s life. —Alan Gillmor (1973) -40How about people in other fields like literature, painting, poetry?

How would you react to Milhaud’s criticism? I think that the piece was a perfectly serious piece which the French, including Milhaud, had not taken seriously. I first found it in a drawer at Henri Sauguet’s; he brought it out as a joke on Satie’s part which he claimed that Satie himself had not taken seriously. But if you just look at the manuscript of Vexations you see how beautifully it was written. It was written no less beautifully than anything else he wrote. Curiously enough, the textual remarks in connection with the Vexations are not humorous; they are in the spirit of Zen Buddhism.

A very tall man stood up and asked such interesting questions and made such interesting remarks that I made a point of meeting him later, and he was the poet Wendell Berry. He taught at the University [of Kentucky] and he lived in a valley nearby where his father and his grandfather and his great-grandfather had lived, and there was a sense of his connection with the land that is so rare with people. So I later went to visit him when I was making a trip in the direction beyond that valley, and we went mushroom-hunting together with his wife and children.

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