The biographical information is fascinating in itself: Cage, his romantic partner of the time (Don Sample), and Harry Hay staged and performed early Cage songs according to Bauhaus principles, complete with appropriate costumes. Shultis's citation of a 1927 quotation from Mies van der Rohe is more provocative: "Is form really an aim? Is it not instead a product of the design process? Is it not the process which is essential?" Anyone who has even a slight familiarity with Cage's conception of structure, process, and form in his early music, or who knows the duality between object and process that informs all of his chance music, will immediately recognize how deeply such sentiments as Rohe's could have affected the young composer.
Every new thing I learn about Cage reminds me that he wasn't a hack going for the cheap shock or drug-induced silliness. He had a genuine love for music, and wanted to create music that meant something to him and others. We can't ask any more of a composer.
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