LMY—Occasionally I do a radio program with John Schaefer or someone, I play little excerpts of some of my compositions and I always thought of The Second Dream of the High Tension Line Step-Down Transformer from The Four Dreams of China as one of my most uncompromising, ascetic, pure La Monte Young pieces, so after I put out The Well-Tuned Piano, I used to ask people who I knew liked my music what should I put out next? And almost to the man, or woman, people say they like The Second Dream of the High Tension Line Step-Down Transformer, and it's all sustained tones, it's only four pitches, the musicians improvise within rules, yet it's been very well received. The same thing happened with this new sound environment. It's without doubt the most radical piece I've ever done, yet people like it. So it leads me to think, in line with what you pointed out earlier, that there are some who feel that there is this evolving comprehension of an expanding threshold of complexity of intervallic relationships. My experience seems to demonstrate that this is indeed the case with people who don't know music theory, just in terms of having lived their life of whatever it was, I mean naturally these are fairly sophisticated people I'm talking about, but they don't know theory, many of them, and they're just people who are part of the art world and they seem to like it, and I like it very much. But I will have to point out that to get to know these intervals the way we know 5/4 and 3/2 will take time, and whereas without doubt I can say that The Well-Tuned Piano is the most evolved musical statement I have ever made, I also can say in the same breath that I think this new work, The Romantic Symmetries in Prime Time from 112 to 144 with 119, is in essence probably an even more important work. However, the difference is that this new work is a mere child-it's only seven months old-maybe, maybe eight months, going on eight months, whereas The Well-Tuned Piano is twenty-five years old. I began work on The Well-Tuned Piano in 1964, and now it's 1989. I'm continuing to work on it. I'm still wildly in love with The Well-Tuned Piano. In fact, I was so deeply in love with The Well-Tuned Piano that I surprised myself when I composed a new work because from the financial point of view there is a lot of pressure on composers to come up with new titles, and I don't like to do it. I'm much more interested in composing long works which take place over long periods of time both in performance and in composition, which have thematic material that is interwoven and displaced over time in such a way that profound and subtle relationships can take place over time, both in a long continuous piece and in a piece that has different performances over time with changes that take place through improvisations. So I get a lot of people who ask me to do a concert and then they want to know what I'm going to do, and I say I want to do The Well-Tuned Piano, and they say, "Oh no, you've done that!" And I say, "Yeah, but I have entire new sections, there's new material that's only been heard once or that hasn't even been heard and I'm going to compose new sections." I say, "This is not a supermarket, this is what I do. It not like I'm peas today and corn tomorrow, roast beef on Thursday."

But I surprised myself with this new work because when we got this commission to do the one year sound and light environment, I had the opportunity to present the work from the Dia Art Foundation that I had a commission from Heiner Friedrich sometime before that to create a new—Marian and I had a commission to create a new sound and light environment. It was under his commission that I finally was able to come up with this inspiration for the new piece. I always worry when I get a commission to do a composition because I don't like to compose under pressure, because I want to compose up to the level of the works I've developed and evolved in an organic way and I'm not interested in just sitting down at a desk and turning out something under the gun—in fact I've never done it-well, I did it in school, of course, everybody does it in school—but so I worry every time I think I might win a commission, because commissions usually come with deadlines and so forth, but the Heiner Friedrich commission started out without a deadline, but then I had this opportunity to present the work at a certain time. The work opened on February 14th, opened to the public, and I began composing it in January. I had actually been working on The Big Dream Symmetries for a few months before that and I had thought I was going to open with The Big Dream Symmetries, and then in the month of January I got really inspired about The Romantic Symmetries in Prime Time from 112 to 144 with 119 and I began working with them and I got into such a state of composition like I haven't been in years, I was just literally composing at the computer night and day for weeks. I went right up to the last second. As it was, we were working on the final light work, a new neon piece that Marian did, it went up at five minutes to 6:00 and the people came in at 6 o'clock. So we just made it, but I was really inspired about this new piece and I'd like to do more work on it. I guess you know now that I have a big band in rehearsal.

DD—Yeah, I believe you mentioned that.

LMY—So it's going to be around 21 pieces and we’ve already had a few rehearsals and I have a short segment of a rehearsal on cassette in fact that is sounding quite good.

DD—What's the instrumentation?

LMY—The instrumentation is me, Marian, and Sarmad, voices; Ben Neill, Jim O'Conner, and Rhys Chatham, trumpets (but there's going to be more trumpets); and then Rob Bethea and Don Hayward, trombones. We have a very good French horn player, Tom Varner, and he's going to bring in some more French horns. And then I have two very good tuba players, Marcus Rojas and Steve Johns. I have Jon Catler on guitar and his bass guitar player who also has a Just Intonation guitar. His name is Hansford Rowe and he was one of the original members of Gong. Then I have Charles Curtis on 'cello. He's an extremely good 'cellist. I may have some other guitar players and I may have some other strings, but I haven't found the string players yet. There may be some other voices. Terry Riley would like to sing with the group and so would Alex Dea and Laurie Kottmeyer. Alex was in one of the original Dream House groups (Theatre of Eternal Music groups). It's all sustained tones, the guitarists do sustained tones too. They either do them with Ebows or with turning down the volume control, strumming a chord then raising up the volume control.

DD—Are you writing new works for this combination?

LMY—No, I haven't been. We're working on The Romantic Symmetries in Prime Time (over a 60 cycle base) from 112 to 144 with 119.

DD—It would be a challenge to learn to play those on acoustic instruments with accuracy.

LMY—Yes, it's very challenging. We're doing it, of course, with the sound environment running in the background and even then it's hard, very hard. Everybody agrees it's the hardest thing they ever played, but it's really fun and many of the players have worked with me for years and some of them are very into Just Intonation and they are all are really good and enthusiastic performers, and it's quite a remarkable group, I think. I'm very excited about it and I look forward to the first live performance as I guess we haven't pinned the dates down—they might be in December, and they will be in the sound and light environment.