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In his writings “Defense of Satie” and “Forerunners of modern music”, Cage attempted to build a framework for music that could integrate what he needed in his life from both traditional and avant-garde music. In the process his work and thought began moving in the direction of “self-knowledge through self-denial”.
In 1948, Cage was completely in alignment with Ananda Coomaraswamy’s severe criticisms of Western art. At the same time, it directly contradicts Cage’s own career, built by playing the role of the brash individualist, modeling himself on artists such as the “Art of Noises” Futurist Luigi Russolo. This conflict is a key factor in the history of Cage’s path in the late 1940s.
“To what end does one write music?” For a composer like John Cage, this was not just a question about the meaning of his work, it was a question about the meaning of his life. It is not surprising, then, that Cage would turn to sources that combined the artistic and the religious to seek out answers.
John Cage’s “A composer’s confessions” tells the story of his professional ambition, its failed realization, and the resulting disappointment and self-doubt. Disillusioned in New York, he turned away from the world, looked inward, and began a search for meaning.