Beethoven bonfire at Black Mountain?

“In 1948, his first year of teaching at Black Mountain College, John Cage gave a lecture on Erik Satie, at the time a little-known French composer. To make his point about Satie’s significance, Cage weighed him against a composer who needed no introduction. ‘Beethoven was in error,’ he said, ‘and his influence, which has been as extensive as it is lamentable, has been deadening to the art of music.’ All that could be said of the German composer is that his legacy was to ‘practically shipwreck the art on an island of decadence’….

“For his apostasy Cage not only alienated several friends among the Black Mountain music faculty but inspired, at least if the anecdotes can be believed, a number of students to torch their Beethoven records.”

— From “Roll Over Beethoven” at bookforum.com (Dec/Jan 2013)

 

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