8. No Such Thing As Silence by Kyle Gann

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8. No Such Thing As Silence by Kyle Gann

Post  wmeisel on Tue May 25, 2010 4:20 pm

This is a book about John Cage's composition 4' 33". If you are not famililar with it, the piece consists of 4 minutes, 33 seconds of silence broken up into three movements. Gann's book is an exhaustive look at the piece.

First we read a bit about the first performance of the piece, then a short bio of Cage himself, then a chapter about the writers and artists and composers who (may have) inspired the piece, then a chapter about how to notate such a piece (more complicated than you might think). Finally, the last chapter looks at people who have been inspired by the piece.

The book is fascinating, easy reading. I learned a lot more about Cage the man than I have in previous reading about him, and also learned about some non-obvious connections between Cage and the later minimalist composers. Highly recommended, if you have any interest in the subject at all.

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