A lively 1963 interview of John Cage by Jonathan Cott. The discussion covers several aspects of Cage's creative process and aesthetic. At every turn Cott antagonizes Cage with challenging questions. In addition, he quotes from numerous sources (including Norman Mailer, Michael Steinberg, Igor Stravinksy and others) criticizing Cage and his music. Includes a performance of “Aria with Fontana Mix” featuring vocalist Cathy Berberian.
This program is notable particularly for the challenging stance of the host, and is an unusual document that provides many moments of amusement as Cage parries Cott's thrusts with a veritable tai chi practice of music theory. The exchange over the quality of Cage's “Concert for Piano and Orchestra” vs. Schoenberg's “Piano Concerto” is one of the funniest exchanges in the history of new music broadcasting. In his defense, Mr. Cott has since explained that he was 19 at the time of the interview!