Journal article

"A Ping, Qualified by a Thud": Music Criticism in Manhattan and the Case of Cage (1943-58)

Suzanne Robinson

JOURNAL OF THE SOCIETY FOR AMERICAN MUSIC | CAMBRIDGE UNIV PRESS | Published : 2007

Abstract

This article surveys the reception of concert performances in Manhattan of music by John Cage, from his arrival in 1942 until his gala retrospective held in Town Hall in 1958, in particular comparing responses from composer-critics such as Virgil Thomson, stabled at theNew YorkHeraldTribune, with that of music journalists based at theNew York Timesand other local dailies. Close reading of reviews and of an array of archival sources suggests that Cage's personal and professional relationships with composer-critics ensured that the reception of his music was uniquely well informed, and that his prepared piano works and early experiments with chance were treated with a remarkable degree of affi..

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