A guide to John Cage’s music

4'33" has made him famous – or should that be notorious? – but listen to his actual music and you'll hear that there's a great deal more to John Cage than his ideas.

John Cage. A wolf in sheep's clothing. Not my aphorism, but the epithet of Michael Finnissy, a composer who worked with Cage and who deeply admires him, but who suggests that the Cageian legacy is something that needs deconstruction as well as celebration. Behind that beatifically smiling visage, the charming prophet of (apparent) freedom, egolessness and openness, there could lurk a more conventionally controlling figure, a creative spirit just as fiercely rigorous and as conscious of his own significance as any of the other titans of the 20th century.

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