After the first performance of ES, Cage told me he couldn’t hear the repetitions in my work. A long discussion ensued. ES is made out entirely of tiny obvious repetitions and drifting mobiles. He spoke about the covered way at York University and its vertical metal, grey poles and how he enjoyed the tedium of the repeating physical distance between these poles, so:
I chose to write this gift for him as a gentle rebuke. There can be no doubt about the repetitions in this one; it is set out like a piece of Furniture Music by Satie. Those one page pieces were acquired by Cage at a salesroom in Paris, after Erik Satie‘s death.
A Spanish folk song tells of a very old horse (I think John was in his 70s by then) which was lashed to a rotating tread mill wheel, which ground corn. The horse goes round and round, dragging this wheel until it drops dead. It is a rather beautiful, sad song.