for the first hundredth anniversary of his birth
… every process suffers partial or total interferences to work of case…
John Milton Cage (Los Angeles, 5th September 1912 - New York, 12th August
1992), is an American musician, among few of those that deeply succeeded to
influence European music. His participations in Europe, among '54, '57 and ‘58,
has aroused in fact the immediate interest of the musical vanguards that
immediately perceive what is new, disturbing and stimulating in the music of
the American composer.
He studies before with Adolph Weiss, disciple of Schönberg, and then with
Schönberg himself. From the beginning his compositions have a clearly
In the thirties he begins a tie both sentimental that artistic with Merce
Cunningham, choreographer precursor of the post-modern dance, that goes on for
all the life.
Not meaning here to circumscribe the complex artistic and musical vicissitude
of Cage. This initiative wants instead to place the accent on the concept of
chance - alea - that from the fifties onwards breaks into his artistic
Influenced from Zen Buddhism and from the philosopher Daisetz Teitaro, Cage
supports the principle of the intentionality in the artistic composition and he
tries to free the sounds from every expressiveness, introducing both in the
composition that in the execution the concept of vagueness.
He tries therefore to put together the sounds in a quite random way and, in
order to make it, he uses different procedures.
As an example, in the 4 books of Music of Changes (1951), all that is written
is fruit of the launch of the 3 I Ching coins, or book of changes.
And we know that in the I Ching is worried exclusively of the accidental
aspect of the events. The nexus cause-effect, so glad to the Occidentals,
In the I Ching we have the synchronism that is the opposite of the causality.
That means, while for the western thought the importance is placed on the
sequence of the events, here we find ourselves in front of a thought that first
of all places the accent on the coincidence of the events in a given time and a
determined space. The events happen just at that time, because they are
interdependent among them as they are interdependent from who observes them.
The vagueness of Cage is never absolute and his poetics becomes part in that
cultural trend that crack the principles of the western thought and reveals its
Then, it’s impossible do not think to Tristan Tzara and to the movement dada
for the absolute preference conceded to the game and the accidental combination
of words and objects, or - just to put a name - do not remember the dripping,
the color left to drip on the picture, of Jackson Pollock.
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