Author Topic: John Cage (1912-92)  (Read 44704 times)

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Offline Lethevich

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John Cage (1912-92)
« on: October 02, 2008, 10:22:06 PM »
I agree with this. I've often said that if Cage had remained on the path he had set for himself in the 1940s, he's be up there with Stravinsky today. His imagination was that good. Then he moved into aleatory stuff, the "music I do not have in mind," and even then, the results are often interesting, if sometimes unlistenable. (I can't bear the Freeman etudes, for example.) Copland once said of him that he didn' really care to write enduring masterpiees as to keep himself entertained for a few hours. That's accurate, but it doesn't make him an idiot or a charlatan.

Inspired by the quoted post, I wonder whether any knowledgeable people can offer guidance to getting a good introduction to and overview of Cage's work. The thought that he may have composed a lot of "musical" works alongside the random ones for which he is famous has piqued my interest.

Without wishing to make the thread excessively personal (this should be used for general Cage discussion as well, naturally), I should mention that I own but have yet to listen to this disc, due to being unsure how decent an intro it will be... I don't want to be scared off 0:)
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Offline Ugh!

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Re: John Cage (1912-92)
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2008, 12:26:45 AM »
Inspired by the quoted post, I wonder whether any knowledgeable people can offer guidance to getting a good introduction to and overview of Cage's work. The thought that he may have composed a lot of "musical" works alongside the random ones for which he is famous has piqued my interest.

Without wishing to make the thread excessively personal (this should be used for general Cage discussion as well, naturally), I should mention that I own but have yet to listen to this disc, due to being unsure how decent an intro it will be... I don't want to be scared off 0:)

Oh yes, there are definitely a lot of works that you might be interested in. "Randomness" may be an integral element in the composition of them, but yet they sound more "conventional" than say Williams Mix etc. Try these:

http://www.amazon.com/John-Cage-Works-for-Percussion/dp/B000025RWV/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1223022249&sr=1-4
http://www.amazon.com/Cage-Sonatas-Interludes-Prepared-Piano/dp/B000025R7X/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1223022249&sr=1-3

Offline Guido

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Re: John Cage (1912-92)
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2008, 01:58:26 AM »
I have the wonderful Sonatas and Interludes for prepared piano played by Berman on Naxos - a great pianist. I was wondering whether Cage's other music for prepared piano was up to much: http://www.amazon.com/John-Cage-Music-Prepared-Piano/dp/B00005A8A6/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1223027774&sr=1-3

Isn't there a prepared piano concerto?
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Offline Ugh!

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Re: John Cage (1912-92)
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2008, 06:26:31 AM »
he's widely regarded as a charlatan by many, and saying he could have been as great as Stravinsky is just down right silly...but he managed to produce a few things, nothing deeply profound, and 1-dimensional in scope

It's the way you assert this opinion that is the problem, not Cage's abilities as a composer in whatever way he wanted to express himself, remember that.

Offline Josquin des Prez

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Re: John Cage (1912-92)
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2008, 06:36:25 AM »
not Cage's abilities as a composer in whatever way he wanted to express himself

Cage had no abilities as a composer, which is why he expressed himself the way he did. Hence, why i call him a charlatan.

Offline Guido

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Re: John Cage (1912-92)
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2008, 06:43:57 AM »
He was free do what he wanted, to 'express himself'...for better, or for worse.

I assume that's an ironic statement...?
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Offline Ugh!

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Re: John Cage (1912-92)
« Reply #6 on: October 03, 2008, 06:46:14 AM »
Cage had no abilities as a composer, which is why he expressed himself the way he did. Hence, why i call him a charlatan.

I find it terribly boring that you tend to turn every thread you participate into a classical/modernist discussion. I think we got the message  ;)

Kullervo

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Re: John Cage (1912-92)
« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2008, 06:53:10 AM »
I was turned off of Cage by his late "number" pieces, but thanks to this thread I'm now interested in hearing his early "composerly" music. This seems to be happening more and more with composers I initially dismissed At this rate I doubt there'll be a composer I hate unconditionally.  :'(

Offline CRCulver

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Re: John Cage (1912-92)
« Reply #8 on: October 03, 2008, 07:51:27 AM »
Cage had no abilities as a composer, which is why he expressed himself the way he did. Hence, why i call him a charlatan.

Just like people who claim Picasso was a charlatan for his cubist works even though he had really mastered traditional paintings in childhood and just wanted to move past that, people who think Cage was an incompetent composer because of his avant-garde works are irresponsibly overlooking the fairly conventional works that came first.

Offline Josquin des Prez

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Re: John Cage (1912-92)
« Reply #9 on: October 03, 2008, 08:10:09 AM »
Just like people who claim Picasso was a charlatan for his cubist works even though he had really mastered traditional paintings in childhood and just wanted to move past that

http://www.picasso-fraud.com/

 >:D

karlhenning

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Re: John Cage (1912-92)
« Reply #10 on: October 03, 2008, 09:29:58 AM »
Cage had no abilities as a composer . . . .

I'll ask again, the rhetorical question which you convenient ignore: And you have heard how much of Cage's music, exactly?

You have no abilitites as an evaluator of compositional ability, where you fatuously pronounce upon music you have no experience of.

Which is why, expressing yourself the way you do, you're ripe to be called a charlatan.

springrite

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Re: John Cage (1912-92)
« Reply #11 on: October 03, 2008, 09:33:48 AM »
I have come to appreciate Cage more and more. Interestingly, at the lecture I gave a month ago, Cage was the one composer that arouse the most interest from the audience.

karlhenning

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Re: John Cage (1912-92)
« Reply #12 on: October 03, 2008, 09:44:14 AM »
Isn't there a prepared piano concerto?

The disservice of the thread derailment like "Josquin's" ritual reactionary blather, isn't so much the worthless noise of the anti-Modernist boilerplate, as the fact that actual inquiry and discussion gets lost in the wake of that blah-blah-blah.

There is indeed, Guido.

lukeottevanger

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Re: John Cage (1912-92)
« Reply #13 on: October 03, 2008, 10:32:51 AM »
...and here (bottom of this post) is a page of it, from one of my very earliest mystery scores  ;D

Never mind JQP's sourness, Cage could compose in the traditional sense, btw, very well indeed. One only needs to listen to the Sonatas and Interludes and other pieces of around this time to know quite how well - and pace James, this music has a great deal to say and says it beautifully (James isn't satisfied unless what it's saying is Teutonically Profound with a capital P). The Seasons is at times astonishingly sensuous - another work I really recommend - and there are plenty of piano pieces (In a Landscape, Four Walls etc) which are simply beautiful. In these and other works - no Guido, the other prep piano works aren't as great as the S+I, but are well worth hearing - Cage reveals himself as a sensitive melodist in the traditional sense: the 13th Sonata (for instance) is a gorgeously intimate little piece in a diatonic E minor (give or take a few vagaries of preparation). Cage's use of very limited modes - of three notes, often - allows him to write these straight-to-the-memory melodies (as in The Wonderful Widow of 18 Springs (not songs); Forever and Sunsmell, Experiences, and others of the sort)

I find it ironic that JQP loves to slam Cage so much, given that Cage comes closer than most other 20th century (and indeed 19th century) composers to writing music which is akin in spirit to that of the medieval masters he (and I) admire so much. Cage's approach to rhythm and to form is closer to these (and to Satie) than to anyone else. But perhaps if JQP actually listened to some Cage he'd realise that...

karlhenning

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Re: John Cage (1912-92)
« Reply #14 on: October 03, 2008, 11:00:20 AM »
I find it ironic that JQP loves to slam Cage so much, given that Cage comes closer than most other 20th century (and indeed 19th century) composers to writing music which is akin in spirit to that of the medieval masters he (and I) admire so much. Cage's approach to rhythm and to form is closer to these (and to Satie) than to anyone else. But perhaps if JQP actually listened to some Cage he'd realise that...

Don't confuse him with the facts: his mind is made up.

karlhenning

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Re: John Cage (1912-92)
« Reply #15 on: October 03, 2008, 11:04:20 AM »
Without wishing to make the thread excessively personal (this should be used for general Cage discussion as well, naturally), I should mention that I own but have yet to listen to this disc, due to being unsure how decent an intro it will be... I don't want to be scared off 0:)

Looks a very sweet disc, Sara.

And . . . all music is personal  8)

lukeottevanger

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Re: John Cage (1912-92)
« Reply #16 on: October 03, 2008, 11:51:36 AM »
It is, it's a real treasure!

Offline Guido

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Re: John Cage (1912-92)
« Reply #17 on: October 03, 2008, 02:46:49 PM »
It is, it's a real treasure!

*ordered*

I have a real problem.
Geologist.

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Offline Guido

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Re: John Cage (1912-92)
« Reply #18 on: October 03, 2008, 03:15:18 PM »
I never said that, speak for yourself.

I think he's commenting on your general attitude that you seem to project on ths board, rather than your comments on this specific thread.
Geologist.

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Offline Guido

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Re: John Cage (1912-92)
« Reply #19 on: October 14, 2008, 09:06:56 AM »
Just recieved the CD that was mentioned in the first post and having listened to it, want to strongly reiterate what Luke said about it - it's just great! I never expected Cage's music to be so beautiful and interesting, even if it is not in a traditional sense. The prepared piano concerto is wonderfully subtle and beautifully austere, the use of silences amongst the most potent I have heard in a work. The Suite for Toy Piano is a great little piece, and Harrisson's orchestration of it is another real gem (though perhaps the intent of the original piece is lost somewhat. But no matter! It still works wonderfully). Then there are two versions of the piece Seventy Four - which are subtly different due to the aleatoric nature of the work. Again, from descriptions, I never imagined that these late works could be so subtle and beautiful, even in a fairly traditional sense. Great stuff.
Geologist.

The large print giveth, and the small print taketh away

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