Sunday, September 2, 2012

Gann on Cage

Kyle Gann's No Such Thing As Silence - John Cage's 4'33'' is the most well written book I can remember reading. So often in books coming from academia I can sense the stack of note cards the author has spent years assembling and then dutifully plows through. 

In his piece The Planets there are narrative arcs, but he uses an astonishing array of musical ideas to get them across and it's the same with his prose style. Different chapters and sections use different ways of writing to convey deeply thought out ideas so freshly it's as though he just came up with them. The fact that there's probably nobody more conversant with the music of the 20th century means that even in talking about details he's illuminating.

I couldn't put the book down and on finishing it found myself greatly refreshed. Besides presenting the info really well, the way he gets you to think about it all limbers up the mind.

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