Tome Tweets 2.

Ethelbert Nevin

[November 2013.]


Kyle GANN: No Such Thing As Silence: John Cage’s 4’33”. Yale University Press, 2010. ISBN 978-0-300-13699-9.

A few influential empty measures prompt a likable book. Perhaps the parts about legacy, discography and Cage’s influences are overly padded.


Kenneth SILVERMAN: Begin Again: A Biography of John Cage. Random House, 2010. ISBN 978-1-4000-4437-5.

A mainstream biographer addresses an atypical subject, and provides few musical insights discussing Cage’s loves, writing and printmaking.

Wendy LESSER: Music for Silenced Voices: Shostakovich and His Fifteen Quartets. Yale University Press, 2012. ISBN 978-0-300-16933-1.

Shostakovich’s cycle speaks for itself. It feels so wrong to be guided through this survivor’s series by a non-musician even if sympathetic.


Thomas ADÈS with Tom SERVICE: Thomas Adès: Full of Noises. Conversations with Tom Service. Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2012. ISBN 978-0-374-27632-4.

A Tale of Two Toms. Yesteryear’s wunderkind continues to emit sparks. Adès offers entertaining opinions and insights into his lively world.


Dave TOMKINS: How to Wreck a Nice Beach: The Vocoder from World War II to Hip-Hop. The Machine Speaks. Stop Smiling Books, 2010. ISBN 978-1-933633-88-6.

An ingenious title. Remember that our electronic gizmos are arms race byproducts, and that a nerdy technician hides behind every pop tune.


Nicolas COLLINS: Handmade Electronic Music. The Art of Hardware Hacking. Routledge, 2009. ISBN: 978-0-415-99873-4.

Do try this at home. But be safe about it. Clear diagrams and hints all over this DIY electronic music cookbook. You too can be David Tudor.


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