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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A cage went in search of a bird, 13 Aug 2008
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This review is from: Silence: Lectures and Writings (Paperback)
This is quite simply my favourite book. This reprint is not on the best quality paper, but never mind. Most books can give you some insight into somebody else's ideas. This book not only gives great insight into the mind of a great twentieth century thinker, but is also an exploration of the readers mind. You, the reader, are forced (seduced?) into active thinking about a wonderful range of subjects - many far removed from music. This is quite possibly the best work of philosophy for the free thinker. Cage never tells you what or how to think about anything, but teases the imagination into the realization that not only are we wonderful individuals, but that the natural world can have as much fascination as we are capable of. Every sound, even every mushroom is infinitely interesting.

An excellent book for setting your mind free - or so it seems to me.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars wouldn't be without it, 1 Dec 2009
By 
This review is from: Silence: Lectures and Writings (Paperback)
I have had this book for many years and return to it again and again whenever I want inspiration and a broad panoramic view that has no truck with opinions and viewpoints.

It is one of the great delights of my life to have actually met this remarkable man and it would not be overstating the case to call him a sage. As Robert Rauschenberg was breaking the ground in painting so John Cage was producing his wake up calls in music that bore no resemblance to the conventions of the past.

Influenced profoundly by Zen Buddhism John Cage produced these lectures and talks over many years and delivered them in much the same way as they are produced in the book, stage managed sometimes to the second and as will be seen sometimes with long pauses and various other tongue in cheek approaches. His talks in the book are interspersed with amusing anecdotes from his life.

The book in so many ways reflects the man as he was, a reluctance to impose views, a highly original and exploratory nature that went into the depths of life, of music, of art and of spiritual development.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Words From An Open Mind, 13 Mar 2011
By 
The Wolf (uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Silence: Lectures and Writings (Paperback)
First published in 1968, when I was nought but an
idealistic whippersnapper, John Cage's 'Silence', a
collection of his lectures and writings, has found its
way back once again into my hairy paws. The intervening
four-and-a-bit decades have done little to diminish its
many charms. (My first encounter with the book in the
local public library resulted in my renewing it repeatedly
for several months until I had absorbed and digested
almost every single word!)

Whether or not you have an appetite for Mr Cage's
uncompromising sonic contributions to the listening world
there is much, nonetheless, to be enjoyed within these pages.

His playful and mercurial nature is evident throughout.
Whether in dense, partly chance-determined, narrative
constructions such as the infuriatingly single-minded
'Composition As Process' and '45' For A Speaker'; or the
delighfully anecdotal stories organised into the temporal
structure of 'Indeterminancy' ( A work he also recorded with
his friend the pianist David Tudor and available on the
Smithsonian Folkways label) his vision is never less than clear.

His thoughts on the development of "experimental" music in the
US, as a challenge to Europe's Second Viennese School legacy
are as refreshingly confrontational as they are enlightening!

A highly stimulating read for anyone with an open mind and ears.

Highly Recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Delivered super quick!, 12 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Silence: Lectures and Writings (Paperback)
I'm using the book to reference from for my essay :-)
Very useful
I love John Cage and advent garde music.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and Enlightening, 7 Jan 2014
By 
Mark Ramsden - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Silence: Lectures and Writings (Paperback)
I've always preferred tunes, grooves and hooks - anything from Herbie Hancock through Debussy to the Beatles, (despite Paul McCartney's recent tireless attempts to put you off him) but as a pretentious teenager I would read John Cage. In contrast to some of his music you didn't have to pretend to like John Cage's writings - attractively presented morsels of music theorizing, poetry and zen. He was funny, more often than not, and the words looked good on the page - acrostics, plenty of soothing white space. He seemed a wild and crazy guy, winning four million Lira on a TV quiz answering questions on mushrooms. Performing avant garde music on a mass market game show. What a card!

I once heard three pieces of John Cage played simultaneously at an all day festival in Islington. We sat on schoolroom chairs in an open space while a lot of musicians faffed about doing random stuff - his definition was `aleatoric', generated by chance, as in I Ching coins - whatevs, dude. Which might as well have been written on the music manuscript: whatevs, dude.

Was this and Cage's beatific smile, in person and on video, worth a four hour round trip? It was in my chin stroking years. Perhaps you're better off with this book. As Hanif Kureishi said of punk, 'It was great music but you wouldn't want to listen to any of it.'

I'm now a senile teenager but the wit and wisdom of Silence has stayed with me through more than three decades.
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Silence: Lectures and Writings
Silence: Lectures and Writings by John Cage (Paperback - 31 Dec 1994)
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