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Talking Music: Conversations With John Cage, Philip Glass, Laurie Anderson, And 5 Generations Of American Experimental Composers

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Talking Music is comprised of substantial original conversations with seventeen American experimental composers and musicians—including Milton Babbitt, Pauline Oliveros, Steve Reich, Meredith Monk, and John Zorn—many of whom rarely grant interviews.The author skillfully elicits candid dialogues that encompass technical explorations; questions of method, style, and influenc Talking Music is comprised of substantial original conversations with seventeen American experimental composers and musicians—including Milton Babbitt, Pauline Oliveros, Steve Reich, Meredith Monk, and John Zorn—many of whom rarely grant interviews.The author skillfully elicits candid dialogues that encompass technical explorations; questions of method, style, and influence; their personal lives and struggles to create; and their aesthetic goals and artistic declarations. Herein, John Cage recalls the turning point in his career; Ben Johnston criticizes the operas of his teacher Harry Partch; La Monte Young attributes his creative discipline to a Morman childhood; and much more. The results are revelatory conversations with some of America's most radical musical innovators.


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Talking Music is comprised of substantial original conversations with seventeen American experimental composers and musicians—including Milton Babbitt, Pauline Oliveros, Steve Reich, Meredith Monk, and John Zorn—many of whom rarely grant interviews.The author skillfully elicits candid dialogues that encompass technical explorations; questions of method, style, and influenc Talking Music is comprised of substantial original conversations with seventeen American experimental composers and musicians—including Milton Babbitt, Pauline Oliveros, Steve Reich, Meredith Monk, and John Zorn—many of whom rarely grant interviews.The author skillfully elicits candid dialogues that encompass technical explorations; questions of method, style, and influence; their personal lives and struggles to create; and their aesthetic goals and artistic declarations. Herein, John Cage recalls the turning point in his career; Ben Johnston criticizes the operas of his teacher Harry Partch; La Monte Young attributes his creative discipline to a Morman childhood; and much more. The results are revelatory conversations with some of America's most radical musical innovators.

30 review for Talking Music: Conversations With John Cage, Philip Glass, Laurie Anderson, And 5 Generations Of American Experimental Composers

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Jackson

    I read this ages ago and enjoyed it, even though a number of the composers were unfamiliar to me. Duckworth makes what could be forbidding music seem approachable and draws interesting observations from his subjects. I recall the interview with John Zorn being a particular revelation. Time to revisit this now that I'm conversant with most of the music. I read this ages ago and enjoyed it, even though a number of the composers were unfamiliar to me. Duckworth makes what could be forbidding music seem approachable and draws interesting observations from his subjects. I recall the interview with John Zorn being a particular revelation. Time to revisit this now that I'm conversant with most of the music.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Philippe

    This is a very entertaining collection of interviews. Duckworth takes his time to explore the issues sufficiently deeply with his interlocutors. Hence, there is substance to the book: it certainly is more than a loose collection of freewheeling conversations. And I am grateful for the fact that Bill Duckworth expanded his survey beyond the obvious collection of Minimalists and Cage. I knew nothing about Pauline Oliveros, Glen Branca or La Monte Young and came away refreshed from reading all thei This is a very entertaining collection of interviews. Duckworth takes his time to explore the issues sufficiently deeply with his interlocutors. Hence, there is substance to the book: it certainly is more than a loose collection of freewheeling conversations. And I am grateful for the fact that Bill Duckworth expanded his survey beyond the obvious collection of Minimalists and Cage. I knew nothing about Pauline Oliveros, Glen Branca or La Monte Young and came away refreshed from reading all their stories. I was generally satisfied by the way Duckworth steers the interviews. The tone is relaxed, sometimes earnest, sometimes tongue-in-cheeck. He is at his very best in the long, sometimes rambling conversations with La Monte Young and John Zorn. But in other cases - such as with the more rigorous and perhaps intellectually more intimidating personality of Steve Reich - Duckworth rigidly sticks to his agenda and fails to capture a number of potentially interesting tangents. The interview with John Cage is outright funny in the way Duckworth fails to catch on with what Cage really tries to get across. He keeps asking the wrong questions whilst Cage, with dwindling patience, is making broad excursions in conceptual hyperspace. But if Duckworth fails to capture a number of interesting opportunities to dig deeper in some of the interviews, this remains a very valuable collection, at least for those new to the whole field of American experimental music.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

    Very enlightening to read these famous composers describe their lives and how they perceive their work. A lot of the stories were inspriring, but I was also amazed at the level of egoism that some of these composers have, especially La Monte Young. A long, but very informative read.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Geoff Young

    Fascinating, inspirational. Need to reread while listening to the works of the composers interviewed and the works of their predecessors, contemporaries, etc.

  5. 5 out of 5

    James R

    Great book, William Duckworth possesses a unique talent for asking the right questions, teasing out composers' insights into their own work and creative process, as well insight into culture, music, and composition in general. Great book, William Duckworth possesses a unique talent for asking the right questions, teasing out composers' insights into their own work and creative process, as well insight into culture, music, and composition in general.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Gina

    Because the music isn't weird enough, here's Cage, Glass and Anderson (et al) discussing the music, weirdly. Because the music isn't weird enough, here's Cage, Glass and Anderson (et al) discussing the music, weirdly.

  7. 4 out of 5

    HeatherNicole

    the interview format is pretty much my favorite.

  8. 4 out of 5

    DoctorM

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ginnetta

  10. 4 out of 5

    Dylan Hawes-Glynn

  11. 5 out of 5

    NotBasho

  12. 4 out of 5

    Erik

  13. 4 out of 5

    Nolan Vallier

  14. 4 out of 5

    Onsetsu Evan Cordes

  15. 5 out of 5

    Chris Truter

  16. 4 out of 5

    Raub

  17. 5 out of 5

    Max

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jamie

  20. 4 out of 5

    Manic

  21. 5 out of 5

    Dawn-joy

  22. 5 out of 5

    Giorgia

  23. 5 out of 5

    Djll

  24. 4 out of 5

    Hillary

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

  26. 5 out of 5

    Luis Soares

  27. 5 out of 5

    Pruston

  28. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Petkus

  29. 4 out of 5

    mezza

  30. 4 out of 5

    Matt Vandegriff

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