John Cage and the History of American Music


Olga Manulkina, drawing upon the writings of M. Hicks, L. Miller, D. Patterson, analyses John Cage’s texts, especially those containing his statements on Henry Cowell, Charles Ives, and Arnold Schoenberg, and puts forward an explanation of peculiarities found in Cage’s manner of «modelling» his autobiography — ​namely in the part concerning his own studies and contacts that influenced his work. She notes that in the case of Cowell Cage was rather disposed to reticence and in the case of Schoenberg, ​on the contrary, to exaggeration.

Olga Manulkina concludes that John Cage’s texts must be critically re-evaluated before they can be relied on as a source for the study of John Cage’s work and biography — ​and history of American music in general. The article contains the first Russian translation of some excerpts from John Cage’s conversation with Daniel Charles and also from the composer’s correspondence with Pauline Schindler and Adolph Weiss.