|About the Book|
First of all - this is a bilingual edition, so no, Im not reading French yet, sadly.Now, Cage wrote this essay in the early 50s, around when he was preparing to release his silent piece, which was arguably the largest tipping point in 20th century music.Cage writes with heart, insight and clarity, and its easy to see why his ideas caught on so well, at least in serious music. Meanwhile, his enemies - fame, money, self-expression, and success - are alive and well in pop music and beyond. This is where Cages ideas might still be highly revolutionary.A couple of quotes, since this book was borrowed so this is as good a place as any to place some highlights:My feeling was that beauty yet remains in intimate situations- that it is quite hopeless to think and act impressively in public terms. This attitude is escapist, but I believe it is wise rather than foolish to escape from a bad situation. I now saw harmony, for which I had no natural feeling, as a device to make music impressive, loud and big, in order to enlarge audiences and increase box-office successIsnt that convenient, heh. There is a lesson here though - find your limitations and use them. And yeah go ahead and make up justifications for them - we all do that all the time, but with artists it seems to be a specialty.I allowed myself to indulge in the fantasy [...] to ban not only recordings, but radio, television, the newspapers, and Hollywood. We might then realize that phonographs and radios are not musical instruments, that what the critics write is not a musical matter but rather a literary matter, that it makes little difference if one of us likes one piece and another another- it is rather the age-old process of making and using music and our becoming more integrated as personalities through this making and using that is of real value.Oh boy has THIS gotten worse in the last 60 years :)Welp, you might think from these incendiary quotes that Cage is some crazy radical. And while he is that, hes also reasonable and laid-back. So if you like music and you get the chance, read this. Its 40 pages, what have you got to lose?