The first part of the letter above answers the question: If one plays several etudes from the Etudes Australes (for example, X, XIX and XXVI), how should one list them on a program? And if it’s a singular etude, would it be Etude [singular] Australes XXI?
The rest of the note was follow-up to an in-person conversation over tea. John mentioned that he had written a piece, One5, for Ellsworth Snyder, but that he hadn’t thought the piece worked when he heard Ellsworth’s performance. He said he had just sent Ellsworth the note below, which is so beautifully written: “I have had an idea about One5. I think it should be played hermetically (which I think you could do superlatively). That is, it should be basically inaudible. So that the actually inaudible, the silences, would be thick with sounds that are not heard or the sounds that are touched are the tips that project from a sea of silence. So that people listening would not be sure whether [or not, struck through] they were hearing anything. You would have to listen very hard. And fail to hear (the music).” I never had the chance to hear Ellsworth play the piece, but he and I did talk about it at length, and my favorite performance of it (to date, at least), was for a memorial event for Bob Dunn at Judson Church, with the sounds of street traffic coming through the door.