The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

November 20, 2012

on virtuosity

in all my years, this comes through,

   is that of the aesthetics of difficulty - _not,_ here,
_virtuosity,_ but or virtuosity. my music takes virtuosity to
its limit, not through,
virtuosity utterly thesis,
virtuosity is useless today,
virtuosity is useless today underneath the sheets. we're all
player pianos,
the instrument tending towards damage, virtuosity, materiality,
inconceivable dedication and virtuosity,
or virtuosity. my music takes virtuosity to its limit, not

and that is all, over eighteen of all my years.

I wanted to call this, cold sun, kalte sonne, virtuosity without
purpose, one instrument after another, notes piling up, proving I
can play like this, but to what end. all this practice in order to
conceive of a music on and through wood, which itself needs
tending; I move from one to another as if in conquest of the
Imaginary. this is momentary, this is soon forgotten. I will place
my sign, I will signify these notes, for example, already on the
edge, on the way to demise. I think of the limits and uselessness
of virtuosity, the constant tending of instruments, equipping them
for speed and mobility, the world passing by, the jet stream of
the world, the way that these sorts of skill are no longer valued,
that they are atavistic, throwback, the enunciation of an infinite
talent that never existed in the first place. I cannot slow enough
to play the limit-tune, the continuous sound, the drone without
development; I have worked myself into a corner, one in which the
abject rules and strengthens the night, or the uneasiness between
night and day, when things almost fall apart, lose verisimilitude.
notes fly from me. extraneous sounds inhabit me. my hands and arms
and fingers, involved, in bondage, my lips performing what my lips
perform, as if sound were immanent, as if speed were my fundamental
particles my cousins, sister of kaon, brother of higgs. I question
now this virtuosity, this demonstration, this showing-off, this
riding ride, this vector, this multiple-tasking multiplicity, this
controlling, this releasing, this breathing, this breathless. now
this is breathless and I will sit and practice and play alone, one
after another of instrument and sound, and I will feel like a god,
like a goddess, like an arched vector, like a bow, like a bowing,
and then it stops and I may record, inscribe, listen, thinking, I
am like this, like an orchard, like a shell, this I have done,
this having been done, and then there will be silence or everyday
sweep and seep of sound and adage from street or rook, and of them
more silence and more silence, then will I have done with them, as
if any had been done, the silence like death looming, the quiet
like the quiet of eternal and incessant night, and my skills are
shown for what they are, poor and tawdry, and useless yet again,
and of no consequence, no utterance or speech, none of saying or
having said or having been said, nothing, and my world curls back
into a lip or nub. then it will be that failure and absurdity
reign and rain in my heart and hearth, and there will be nothing
to be done, and nothing that has been done," he said, and that,
the thinking of that and its writing and saying, is my own, and
then begins there, or here, for you, imagining useless virtuosity,
driving a racing vehicle for example, winning game after game of
chess, thinking through the farthest reaches of bell's inequality,
I am sitting in a room, there are instruments waiting, potential
only of past worlds, I am overwhelmed, I am overcome, I can do
nothing, I no longer can do anything, I can play nothing, I no
longer can play anything, I can sing nothing, I no longer can sing
anything, I await nothing, I am no longer awaiting anything, I am
nothing, I am no longer anything,

Tue Nov 20 00:45:46 EST 2012
Tue Nov 20 12:54:07 EST 2012

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