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I–VI
MethodStructureIntentionDisciplineNotationIndeterminacy
InterpenetrationImitationDevotionCircumstancesVariableStructure
NonunderstandingContingencyInconsistencyPerformance

John Cage




Wesleyan University Press
1997 • 464 pp. 15 illus. 7 x 10”
Music / Essays / Art

Not for sale in the British Commonwealth except Canada

Audio CD.

Sorry—this book is Out of Print

"Its multilayered structure makes I-VI Cage's most interesting textual creation since his first collection of essays, Silence . . . Especially when he reads them, in his frail but steadfast baritone, shaping the phrases and illuminating hidden meanings and poetic undercurrents in word jumbles that seem at first -- and may still be, on the less important level of explication -- meaningless, Mr. Cage attains a perfect synthesis of all that he is: soft-spoken backwoods storyteller, vanguard modernist, Zen master, kindly village preacher. Yet this is not mere accident: Mr. Cage is making art. And by any generous definition of what art is and can be, he is making beautiful music as well."—John Rockwell, New York Times Book Review

Cage's contribution to Harvard's prestigious Norton Lecture Series in 1988-89. More like performances than lectures, these six mesotics – a complex horizontal arrangement of text to form vertical letter sequences that spell out key word– a kind of meticulously choreographed anarchy in which choce and chance join to redefine the concepts of meaning and meaningfulness.

Dazzling innovation in a work by one of America's most important and controversial composers.

"In the nature of the use of chance operations is the belief that all answers answer all questions," John Cage writes in this edition of his contribution to Harvard's prestigious Norton Lecture Series in 1988-89. More like performances than lectures, these six mesostics -- a complex horizontal arrangement of text to form vertical letter sequences that spell out key words -- illustrated for his audience the concept of "nonintention," a kind of meticulously choreographed anarchy in which choice and chance join to redefine the concepts of meaning and meaningfulness.

Drawing text from Thoreau, Wittgenstein, Joyce, McCluhan, and daily newspapers, Cage used a computer program to combine seemingly disparate lines into a whole that explored fifteen central aspects of his compositional credo. This edition includes the mesostics, transcriptions, and a CD recording of the question-and-answer sessions that followed and of Cage reading in a sonorous baritone that infuses the mesostic with life, depth, and musicality. The aesthetic integrity and artistic growth that have characterized Cage's half century of production are nowhere more clearly evident than in this tour de force.

Reviews:

"This is essential Cage . . . a must for those interested in music, performance, philosophy, art, literature, and aesthetics, among other disciplines."—Umbrella

"I-VI is Cage's finest poem, a major work in a unique style, surely among the best American epic poems of the postwar period."—Richard Kostelanetz, The Journal of Art



JOHN CAGE was born in Los Angeles in 1912. He studied music with Adolph Weiss, Arnold Schoenberg, and others, later collaborating with artists such as Merce Cunningham, Robert Rauschenberg, and Jasper Johns. He died in 1992.






Mon, 24 Feb 2014 10:49:17 -0500