A significant association copy inscribed by Cage to his patron Betty Freeman, marking a pivotal moment in the career of one of America's preeminent postmodern composers.
Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1961. First edition. Square 8vo. Black cloth, blind-stamped to front board; white and bronze spine titles; dust jacket. Xii, 276pp. Bottom corners lightly bumped/swollen; toning to textblock edges; spot of soiling to ffep below inscription. Price-clipped jacket with edgewear and rubbing, foxing and faint dampstaining to interior. Very good in a like jacket. Inscribed by Cage on ffep: "For Betty Freeman with gratitude for her interest and activity. John Cage (after the California Tour January '65."
Presentation copy of the first book by experimental American composer John Cage (1912-1992), as inscribed by him to American photographer and philanthropist Betty Freeman (1921-2009), who was noted for her extensive patronage of new musicians—Cage prominent among them. In addition to being one of his most generous financial supporters, Freeman and Cage enjoyed a close relationship for many decades, prompting him to write to her in a 1989 letter: "One of the great pleasures of my life is our friendship" (Silverman, Begin Again, p. 281). Cage first approached Freeman in 1964 while fundraising for his and Merce Cunningham's upcoming world tour, which Freeman agreed to help finance. That undertaking ended somewhat disastrously, with a number of Cunningham's dancers quitting mid-tour, and Cage returning to America at the end of the year to face a mountain of debt. His California tour of January 1965—during which he inscribed the present volume—was in large part a fundraising endeavor to pay off those debts. Whether Freeman provided direct financial assistance at that time is unclear; that same year, however, she set up an annual grant to cover Cage's living expenses until his death. In 1977, she commissioned him to compose a series of solo etudes for violin, which he named the Freeman Etudes in her honor.