By Margot Mifflin
Updated October 23, 1992 at 04:00 AM EDT

The Roaring Silence: John Cage: A Life

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Best known for composing 4 minutes 33 seconds of silence, John Cage, who died last summer, was the preeminent avant-garde composer of postwar America. This plodding biography charts every step of his musical development but barely penetrates his psyche. A composer himself, David Revill wrote the book with Cage’s blessing but quotes him mostly from other sources and includes few comments from Cage’s collaborators, including his longtime companion, Merce Cunningham. Partially redeemed by its lucid musical explication, The Roaring Silence: John Cage: A Life is still too academic to do justice to Cage, who was open to almost anything — except pedantry. C

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The Roaring Silence: John Cage: A Life

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