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The Boulez-Cage Correspondence
     

The Boulez-Cage Correspondence

by Jean-Jacques Nattiez (Editor), Robert Samuels (Editor), Pierre Boulez
 
Between May 1949 and August 1954 the composers Pierre Boulez and John Cage exchanged a series of remarkable letters, reflecting on their own music as well as the culture of the time. This correspondence, together with other relevant documents, has been edited and annotated by Jean-Jacques Nattiez.

Overview

Between May 1949 and August 1954 the composers Pierre Boulez and John Cage exchanged a series of remarkable letters, reflecting on their own music as well as the culture of the time. This correspondence, together with other relevant documents, has been edited and annotated by Jean-Jacques Nattiez.

Editorial Reviews

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.
John Shreffler
This book memorializes the moment in the early 1950s in which the two leading enfants terribles of composition sought to bridge the gap between American experimental music and the more traditional world of the European avant-garde. Boulez and Cage both believed in breaking with the past, and each was committed to thorough change. Cage, elder of the two, was established in New York but espoused the open attitudes of a Californian, while Boulez was at the forefront in Paris. 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. Eventually, Boulez broke off the exchange, and each man, in his own way, went on to fame--Cage as father figure to the 1960s counterculture, Boulez as a conductor and a guru for younger European composers.
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

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780521401449
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Publication date:
09/28/1993
Pages:
186
Product dimensions:
5.98(w) x 8.98(h) x 0.63(d)

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