Month: July 2014

7 — Following the master

By 1950 Cage had arrived at a style that celebrated emptiness. Paradoxically, by letting go any strong self-expression, he discovered a truer musical voice. His next major work, the Concerto for prepared piano and chamber orchestra, was to explicitly present this release from self-expression.

6 — The poetry of sounds

Energized by the discoveries of the quartet, Cage created his first really great piece of writing in 1950, the “Lecture on nothing”. It eloquently presents Cage’s belief that self-negating discipline produces insight.

5 — Praising silence

Through the composition of his “String quartet in four parts”, Cage went further on the path of “self-knowledge through self-denial”. In it, he discovered a non-expressive use of harmony, and he did it by treating materials in a systematic fashion.