Tooting my Own Horn

I’ve been doubtful about how much journalistic attention the 50th-anniversary edition of Cage’s Silence is going to get, but the distinguished literary critic Marjorie Perloff wrote a column about it in the Los Angeles Review of Books, and made several generous comments about my foreword. I appreciate her point that we all think of Cage as such a sunny character, but in retrospect some of those stories in Silence seem darker than we first thought.


  1. says

    Congratulations! You seem to have become a bonafide expert.

    Silence was hugely influential on me in my formative years, for its aesthetics for sure, but even more in how it presented Cage as a total artist, one who lives life unencumbered by the expectations of others and whose philosophies affect every aspect of that life.

  2. says

    Great column and it is always nice to see some light shone on our shady cul-de-sac of interests.

    Her comments on the “Lecture on Nothing” remind me that it wasn’t such an accident I was drawn to performing the lecture when I was 19. I didn’t have the words to say what I knew, so I used his.

  3. says

    Congratulations on your success!

    When at school my parents were stationed in Malta and I was allowed to use the Army library, they had a copy of Music in a Newfound Land by Wilfred Mellers. I had never heard of John Cage but that chapter fascinated me and I think I only read about Cage, Feldman, Ruggles and Ives. Cage was such an influence on so much music that followed and was probably the closest a composer has ever come to being sui generis.

  4. Julian says

    interesting. i never met Cage and formerly only had the surfeit of smiley photos to go on but since hearing the recording of him trashing Glen Branca haven’t thought of him as sunny

    KG replies: As administrative assistant for the Chicago NMA festival, I was around for that controversy, and to this day am reluctant to stick my foot in it, but I don’t find the word “trashing” accurate. The audience reaction to Branca’s music was, I thought, pretty scary; I’d never seen anything like it, and haven’t since. Cage interpreted it according to his rather idiosyncratic sense of music being a metaphor for society, which is certainly not the only way one could take it. I could easily see why Cage reacted the way he did, but his interpretation of that reaction was peculiar to him, and why should Cage be expected to like everyone’s music? I certainly don’t. I’ve always felt there was a lot of overreaction on both sides in that incident.