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Rear Garde

March 22, 1987

To call John Cage a composer is an insult to the great masters of the past, as well as to those who are today trying to create music that touches the nobler parts of our being.

Why does Perlmutter waste our time asking us to accept Cage as a composer, when by definition a composer, is one who organizes and "controls" his material. Cage sets out with the idea of trying to "create" chaos and disorder. I often wonder why Cage simply doesn't invite nonmusicians to perform his work, since this would increase the likelihood that nothing musical would evolve.

Cage, like many "avant-garde artists," attempts to "create" works which are not only bereft of any relationship to the human condition, but which are entirely out of sync with the universe. After all, the universe has order, the universe has structure; the universe even has rhythm and harmony, and, oh yes--if you listen carefully-- even melody.

It is because we humans are part of the universe that we therefore respond positively to that which is a natural part of the cosmos (order), and negatively to that which we perceive as unnatural or chaos.

When that simple lesson is perceived, the contemporary artist will first have an opportunity to create works that will not only stimulate but move and inspire as well. To be "interesting" is not enough.

When was the last time that any of us could apply adjectives such as beautiful, sublime, graceful, or inspiring to works of the avant-garde?


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