I listened to the first part of a (low energy, almost intimate) conversation between John Cage and Morton Feldman, recorded in 1967 at WBAI in New York. (Please imagine my rant about changes in non-commercial radio.)
I discovered this program via Nonpop.
Also available at Ubuweb
Near the end of part one Cage reflects that Arnold Schoenberg seemed more interested in teaching than in composing. And I thought "Yep, that's the problem with modern music today in a nutshell." (Please imagine my rant about how music should be listened to, not thought about.) (Also imagine my "do as I say, not as I do" rant.)
Here's an article about music in the early fifties - about the time I was an infant. The article is technical and ends with a comparison of recordings of Cage's Music of Changes, if you care. But I found it a fascinating overview of the mass of new musical ideas - and the interactions between composers. (I wonder if I'd enjoy reading letters between John Cage & Pierre Boulez.)
I enthusiastically studied this music in college and grad school. Today I wouldn't cross the street to hear it. But I'm in awe of the vast outpouring of radical invention.
These things must have been regarded by "sane, rational 1950's music lovers" as lunatic ravings and pure noise. What would I have thought had I been an adult back then? More importantly what lunatic rantings and ravings of today am I overlooking? (Imagine my rant about where the new ideas in new music have disappeared to.)
Here are previous posts in Mixed-Meters regarding John Cage:
4'33" performed by an orchestra
ICA plays Atlas Eclipticalis
"John Cage" radio at Pandora
The picture above is Bob Denver (you know, "Gilligan") - watch a video of him "singing" in the beach. (Yep. IN the beach.) (actually his performance is more like sprechstimme.) (You're right, it has nothing to do with John Cage)
Bob's beach-movie video is from WFMU Beware the Blog. Other good recent videos there include Monkey Chant and someone playing slide guitar with a spoon held in his teeth. You can find 'em if you look.
If you want to hear some 1950's music I actually enjoy listening to these days, try WFMU's show - Fools Paradise. Go figure.
(P.S. - still busy with work. Five-day Forecast: less than one new post per week.)