Four American Composers, Part I: John Cage and Meredith Monk | Chicago Reader

Four American Composers, Part I: John Cage and Meredith Monk

Peter Greenaway (The Pillow Book) brings his signature style to these two profiles for British TV (the other two are on Philip Glass and Robert Ashley). The portrait of John Cage seems like a cinematic correlative to Cage's fascination with the interplay of rules and indeterminacy: performance footage, tape-recorded anecdotes, and Cage's reflections on composition are all presented with Greenaway's distinctive mix of randomness and obsessive order. His portrait of composer and performance artist Meredith Monk is more conventional, perhaps in keeping with her belief that art can be about ideas. Juxtaposed with Cage's radical rejection of intent, even her most avant-garde work (harmonic yelping, repetitive movement) seems rather quaint.

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