The Boulez-Cage Correspondence / Edition 1

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Between May 1949 and August 1954 the composers Pierre Boulez and John Cage exchanged a series of remarkable letters that reflect on their own music and the culture of the time. This correspondence, together with other relevant documents, has been edited and annotated by Jean-Jacques Nattiez and is now available for the first time in English in a paperback edition.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Their letters detail an intense interchange and illuminate the differences between the frankly eclectic Cage, who was then deepening his acquaintances with Zen Buddhism, dada, and abstract expressionism, and Boulez, who was immersing himself in his notions of mathematical control of his composition." Booklist

"The book's contrapuntal portrayal of the widening chasm is quite fascinating. It is a necessary book; an invaluable document of its time." The Guardian

"This admirably edited collection, containing all the surviving letters exchanged between Pierre Boulez and John Cage, helps to answer one of the great questions about post-war music—how was it that these men arrived at such similar premises for the writing of the 1950s New Music from such disparate backgrounds?....It is a necessary book: an invaluable document of its time." John Bentley, The Guardian

Library Journal
This small but heavily annotated correspondence between French composer Pierre Boulez and recently deceased American composer John Cage contains letters dating from 1949 to 1954, as well as supplementary documents. The age difference between the two men is apparent, and the older Cage often assumes the role of teacher and mentor. The letters contain no striking personal revelations, but they record the activities and musical ideas of the composers, who at the time were moving in different directions. Often technical, the letters contain graphs and tables of sounds, durations, amplitudes, and more. The friendship between the composers later cooled, but these documents provide a historical record of the musical climate during the era of their relationship. Recommended for academic libraries.-- Debora Richey, California State Univ.-Fullerton Lib.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521485586
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/1995
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 188
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.43 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface to the English edition; Translator's introduction; Introduction: Cage/Boulez: a chapter in music history; Correspondence; Glossary of names.

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