Frank Manheim's article bothers me. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and I'm no great avant-gardist myself, but sweeping statements such as 'silence is obviously not music' with regard to 4'33" just seems like wilful misunderstanding.
Yes, there are elements of thought experiment in this kind of thing, but to me this work has always seemed like a logical extension of the definition of music as 'organised sound'.
4'33" gathers ambient sound into a strict time frame. It is therefore 'organised sound' or, if you will, music. Not conventional music perhaps, but don't conventions exist to be broken?
The musical world needs iconoclasts like John Cage if it's not to stagnate, just as the art world needs its Marcel Duchamps or Jackson Pollocks.
These may also be showmen, commercially minded, egotistical - though Cage was quite a gentleman as far as I could tell. The legacy is however that these people changed our perceptions forever - and thank goodness for that.
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