Sometimes one must try to invent a form which expresses the limitations of form,
which takes as its point of departure the terror of formlessness.
Most become trapped by the notion of a certain tactile resistance….concerned with the idea that a certain octave passage is difficult to play….There is very little that you can do there after to escape it. It will always be to some extent the stuff of your nightmares. You can’t really get away from it. If, on the other hand, it doesn’t quite exist for you—if it’s not allowed to exist by virtue of the fact that you drown it out, that you surround it with so many things that it’s simply one tantalizing distraction among many—it can never assume those gigantic proportions in your imagination. That’s why I think that the whole idea of doing things which seem honorably difficult is quite wrong. The whole idea of approaching music by virtue of the concert experience because that happens to be the tried and true and certainly trying way to make music is completely wrong.
Most of these ideas about the validity or lack of validity in a particular artistic procedure stem from an idea of history that has encouraged us to conceive of historical action in terms of a series of climaxes and to determine the virtues of artists according to the manner in which they participated in, or, better still, anticipated, the nearest climax. We tend to visualize a greatly exaggerated concept of historical transformation, and, for reasons that seem expedient in helping us make history approachable and teachable (in order to make history captive is perhaps closer to the point), we tend to prefer antithetical descriptions of historical point and denial, and to these we assign descriptions, terms that are consequently infected with all sorts of extraneous notions about progress and retrogression.
When you begin to examine terms like "originality" with reference to those constructive situations to which they do in fact analytically apply, the nature of the description that they provide tends to reduce the imitation- invention ratio in a work of art quite properly to simple matter of statistic. Within this statistic no work of art is ever genuinely "original" - if it were, it would be unrecognizable. All art is really variation upon some other art, and the more we divorce the application of terms like "originality" from those analytical observations to which they can profitably apply, the more uncertain is the ground upon which we erect our evaluations of art.