4 American Composers:
Directed by Peter Greenaway. Feautring John Cage, Meredith Monk, Robert Ashley and Philip Glass. Based on London performances under the aegis of the New York/Almeida Festival, this set of four one-hour documentaries, originally produced in 1983, introduced these avant-garde composers and their music to a general public. It is a tribute to the filmmakers’ accomplishment (and a sorry comment on how we honor our own prophets) that the set provides no less valuable an introduction for audiences over two and a half decades later. Rarely seen and out of print, Greenaway’s films make a perfect companion to Robert Ashley’s set of composer portraits Music With Roots in the Aether, produced in the mid-70s.