The Cambridge Companion to John Cage

The Cambridge Companion to John Cage

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John Cage (1912-1992) was without doubt one of the most important and influential figures in twentieth-century music. Pupil of Schoenberg, Henry Cowell, Marcel Duchamp, and Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki, among others, he spent much of his career in pursuit of an unusual goal: 'giving up control so that sounds can be sounds', as he put it. This book celebrates the richness and diversity of Cage's achievements - the development of the prepared piano and of the percussion orchestra, the adoption of chance and of indeterminacy, the employment of electronic resources and of graphic notation, and the questioning of the most fundamental tenets of Western art music. Besides composing around 300 works, he was also a prolific performer, writer, poet, and visual artist. Written by a team of experts, this Companion discusses Cage's background, his work, and its performance and reception, providing in sum a fully rounded portrait of a fascinating figure.
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Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 6 b/w illus. 3 tables 37 music examples
  • 1139797220
  • 9781139797221

Table of contents

List of illustrations; Notes on contributors; Preface; Acknowledgements; Chronology; Part I. Aesthetic Contexts: 1. Cage and America David Nicholls; 2. Cage and Europe Christopher Shultis; 3. Cage and Asia: history and sources David W. Patterson; Part II. Sounds, Words, Images: 4. Music I: to the late 1940s David W. Bernstein; 5. Words and writings David W. Patterson; 6. Towards infinity: Cage in the 1950s and 1960s David Nicholls; 7. Visual art Kathan Brown; 8. Music II: from the late 1960s William Brooks; Part III. Interaction and Influence: 9. Cage's collaborations Leta E. Miller; 10. Cage and Tudor John Holzaepfel; 11. Cage and high modernism David W. Bernstein; 12. Music and society William Brooks; 13. Cage and postmodernism Alastair Williams; 14. No escape from heaven: John Cage as father figure Kyle Gann; Endnotes; Bibliography; Index.
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Review quote

'... find this collection of 14 essays an amiable and accessible companion ... this delightful and informative book.' BBC Music Magazine
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About David Nicholls

David Nicholls is Professor of Music at the University of Southampton. Author of American Experimental Music, 1890-1940 (Cambridge, 1990) and editor of The Cambridge History of American Music (Cambridge, 1998) and numerous articles on topics in American music, he has also acted as contributing editor for the reissue of Henry Cowell's New Musical Resources (CUP, 1996) and The Whole World of Music: A Henry Cowell Symposium (1997). He is also editor of the journal American Music.
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