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Digging Cage

March 29, 1987

The letters by Randall Davidson and William Goldstein condemning John Cage betray their ignorance of Cage's music, and their lack of true musical appreciation (Calendar Letters, March 22, in response to Donna Perlmutter's article, "John Cage Still Leaves Everything to Chance," March 15).

I have met many people who will attack Cage and his entire creative output simply after having read a description of "4' 33" " (during which no notes are to be struck). It is certainly justifiable to criticize a specific work which one has heard, but to use a brief newspaper interview as the basis for belittling the oeuvre of a man who has made music for over half a century is beneath contempt.

Davidson's remark that "Western music culminated in the integrative genius of Bach, Mozart and Beethoven" displays his superficial understanding of music. Bach, Mozart and Beethoven represent the culmination of a particular style of music; Western music history has certainly produced a number of great composers since Beethoven. Davidson's ludicrous statement is the equivalent of saying that there have been no great playwrights since Shakespeare, or great painters since Michelangelo.

CHRISTIAN HERTZOG

La Jolla

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