As an interview subject he was a consummate professional. There have been British eccentrics of an earlier generation who anticipated aspects of modernism before their compatriots: Cyril Scott, whose 1908 Piano Sonata No. The more dense passages of my larger works—such as the three concertos—reflect this, but I have never been able to relinquish control in the way that Cage did. I was working with various notations, including the beginnings of my open-form developments. A valuable and enjoyable read which I unreservedly recommend.
I was one of the first British composers to do this. Most of these interviews were given to Peter Dickinson but there are others in which with Rebecca Boyle, Anthony Cheevers, Michael Oliver, and Roger Smalley were the interviewers. Cage with David Sylvester and Roger Smalley ; Cage with Frank Kermode ; Cage with Michael Oliver -- Extravaganzas. I believed it was possible to make scores that would allow flexibility and improvisation that would not be shoddy. Berners made fun of almost everything. Dickinson's approach to collecting these interviews is methodical and fastidious.
Apart from the long interview with Cage himself, there are discussions with Bonnie Bird, Earle Brown, Merce Cunningham, Minna Lederman, Otto Luening, Jackson Mac Low, Peadar Mercier, Pauline Oliveros, John Rockwell, Kurt Schwertsik, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Virgil Thomson, David Tudor, La Monte Young, and Paul Zukovsky. CageTalk is excellent, leaving one with feelings of affection toward its subject. And Cage is a West Coast phenomenon affected by Eastern philosophy. Man, that was praise enough. He has also been a board member of since 1984 and a member of the since 1985. Instead, the interviewees simply give us what we would all prefer to have, which is a diverse set of instructive, good-humoured accounts of their dealings with the book's subject.
He was not getting invited to a lot of places like he is now. I had heard about John before that but had no musical information at that point. But he was also a much-admired writer and artist, and a uniquely attractive personality able to present his ideas engagingly wherever he went. From my point of view, the conditions he presents to the musicians are ambiguous and in a certain way some of the things he does are insulting. As an interview subject he was a consummate professional.
Five stars out of five. For this paperback edition, Dickinson presents a new preface noting developments in Cage criticism since the book's publication in 2006, updated comments from several of the original interviewees, and a new interview with Christian Wolff. Turn to a page almost at random, and you can fill the rest of your review with intriguing and entertaining quotes. For one thing, I came out of jazz, so improvisation and flexible relationships among scoring, performers, and notation were very natural to me. The early 1952 and 1953 Folio graphic works of mine really are timeless. He grew up playing the trumpet, largely jazz, and he studied in Boston—engineering and mathematics at Northeastern University, composition at the Schillinger School, and privately with the twelve-tone composer Roslyn Brogue-Henning.
He is also chair of the Bernarr Rainbow Trust, a charity set up in 1997 for the benefit of music education. And Dickinson, the editor of this volume, contributes little-known source material about Cage's Musicircus and Roaratorio as well as a substantial introduction exploring the multiple roles that Cage's varied and challenging output played during much of the twentieth century and continues to play in the early twenty-first. Sign up for our monthly NewMusicBox newsletter All set. Cage was guest and subject of a festival held at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague in 1988. Peter Dickinson, British composer and pianist, is emeritus professor, University of Keele and University of London, and has written or edited several books about twentieth-century music, including Copland Connotations Boydell Press, 2002 and The Music of Lennox Berkeley Boydell Press, 2003. One of the things John did in Atlas Eclipticalis. The term can be applied to his own music, which adds a mix of ragtime, jazz, serial music, and even electronic playback to more traditional types of instrumental musical forms.
All of these interviews add to our view of Cage as a man and as an artist, and make him much more of a three-dimensional character than just the uniquely influential creative personality behind the music and the writings. Further, his derivation from the New York abstract expressionists and from jazz makes him a distinctly New World phenomenon. About musicircus : Cage with Peter Dickinson ; Introducing Roaratorio : Cage, Cunningham, and Peadar Mercier with Peter Dickinson ; Europeras and after : Cage with Anthony Cheevers. He was still involved, you might say, in musical discourse or soliloquy , whereas I seemed to be involved with theater. There was a celebration of diversity sometimes missing when European composers were involved in popular music where figures such as Weill and Maxwell Davies have given their references a sleazy or cynical connotation. As a post-graduate composition student, still very much wet behind the ears, I was one of many to be charmed but mystified by this legendary figure. But I have guided rehearsals, and classical musicians react brilliantly.
The book is divided into four sections. The program describes the kind of outcome you will get. And John has stuck to composing music by chance all that time. But he was also a much-admired writer and artist, and a uniquely attractive personality able to present his ideas engagingly wherever he went. A sense of intimacy and richness of anecdotal detail. He has also made several international lecture-recital tours.