Although John Cage has been almost universally recognised as the leading figure of the post-war musical avant-garde, this is the first book to present a complete and coherent picture of Cage the composer. Providing a historical account of Cage's musical concerns and changing style, James Pritchett describes just what it was Cage did and why and how he did it. The book is centred around extensive descriptions of the most important works and compositional techniques, including in-depth explanations of the role of chance and indeterminacy in Cage's music. Dr Pritchett also considers the relationship of Cage's musical thought to his interests in such diverse subjects as Eastern philosophy and religion, Marshall McLuhan, and anarchism (among many others). This book thus makes the essential introduction to Cage's musical world.
• The first book to offer a full account of Cage's music • Provides full cultural, intellectual and biographical background • Cage himself said on reading draft chapters of this book 'It reads like a novel'
1. 'For more new sounds' (1933–1948); 2. 'To sober and quiet the mind...' (1946–1951); 3. 'Throwing sound into silence' (1951–1956);4. Indeterminacy (1957–1961); 5. 'Music (not composition)' (1962–1969); 6. 'Joy and bewilderment' (1969–1992).
'Thus we find detailed and generally thorough, consideration of not just Cage's music and the techniques it employs but also the sources of the ideological standpoints from which the music is derived.' Music and Letters