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John Cage

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  57 ratings  ·  11 reviews
American writer, composer, artist, and philosopher John Cage (1912–92) is best known for his experimental composition 4’33,” a musical score in which the performer does not play an instrument during the duration of the piece. The purpose, Cage said, was for the audience to listen to the sounds of the environment around them while the piece was performed. Groundbreaking pie ...more
Paperback, 180 pages
Published June 15th 2012 by Reaktion Books (first published April 15th 2012)
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This is a marvelous, albeit brief, overview of the artistic career of a performance artist that never ceases to amaze: John Cage. It confronts the reader with themes and questions that arise in the works of Cage, such as the autonomy of the composer, the liberation of sounds, the role of the audience and the dynamics of musical modernism. Haskins has a very lucid style and doesn't pretend that this mini-biography is a definitive account of Cage's works. What this volume offers is a thought-provo ...more
Apr 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Just long enough and just in-depth enough. My trusty starting source; provides thorough biography, timeline, etc, in a well-researched and readable way. Not overly exciting researched writing per se, but if you are looking for a solid but not too heady intro to John Cage and his complex career, this would be a comfortable starting point.
Martin Henson
Oct 20, 2019 rated it liked it
Generally a little stolid - but with occasional flashes of insight beyond the more prosaic cataloging of pieces, time and place. Such a contrast between this and the wonderful world painted by Kay Larson - though this one does, it is true, perhaps not over-blow the Zen.
Jun 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Идеальная биография. Предметное введение в творчество, биографические факты в правильном количестве, без редукции и упрощения. Отличная отправная точка для дальнейшего изучения.
Олег Шинкаренко
This is a catastrophically boring book. The reason for this is that Cage very early abandoned creative logic and constantly invented various (often - mystical) means to avoid it. Most of the dialogues with him, which are the main part of the book, are devoted to his strategies for achieving chaos in music. He could be praised for this if the strategies were not so monotonous. Unfortunately, for some reason, Cage hardly tells interesting stories from his life, and this is very strange, because th ...more
Tara Brabazon
May 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
I commence this review with a full disclosure. I am a fan of John Cage. He shattered the barriers between composition and philosophy. His compositions provide a soundtrack for thinking and thoughtfulness.

Rob Haskins' book is an outstanding and short overview. It is not simple, but it is well structured and organized. It is a guide through his life, compositions, performance and writing. For those wanting to start engaging with John Cage's work, or mature scholars who wish to dip back into the di
Feb 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
I spent a good amount of time performing and studying Cage's music in college, but this is the first book solely about him that I've read. It's a relatively brief overview of his life and art, and it does its job well in that regard, but it is a Polaroid of the rich canvas that was Cage's work. I'm starting in on "Silence" by the man himself, which is a collection of writings and lectures, so this biography was a good jumping-off point. I'll find something more biographically detailed somewhere ...more
Kurt Gottschalk
Aug 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
See my review at New Music Box ...more
Chant Cowen
Jun 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A very easy read. I would recommend this book for a brief survey of Cages career and works.
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