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Gained in Translation: Words about Cage in late 1950's Germany.

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal article

  • Martin Iddon
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>02/2007
<mark>Journal</mark>Contemporary Music Review
Issue number1
Number of pages16
Pages (from-to)89-104
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


John Cage's 1958 visit to Darmstadt has taken on an unprecedented level of significance in the historiography of new music. Borio argues that Cage's physical arrival in Europe was one of four primary reasons for the dissolution of serial thinking. This article queries, though, whether the impact of Cage's visit was not created by Cage's own words or music, but instead by the translation of Cage's words into German. An analysis of the translation shows significant disparities between it and the original, making politically concrete in German what was only implicit in English. In short, this article will argue that one of the most significant controversies in the history of the post-war avant-garde became so through Cage's assimilation, through translation, into a burgeoning German political debate.