The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive


I want to write an article on playing fast, on making
so many pieces. My article would speak about death, my
fear of stopping in the midst of things. There are
times my fingers hurt, and I wonder when they'll give
out, when I'll have to stop playing altogether. So now
I work furiously, every idea is carried out, and I
know that every attempt might be my last. No one plays
the way I do, and I'll think, I have to play faster
now, push my limits and those of others. I'll make a
new sequence of notes, consciously try to remember it,
bring it to the foreground repeatedly in the midst of
other modules, creating a tapestry that blurs on the
hearing of it. Some instruments are faster and more
fecund than others - electric saz and guitar, oud for
examples; some, like erhu and suroz seem deeper and
sleeker; some like sarangi record my stumblings, and
some like viola and Alpine zither carry incandescent
beauty at any speed. In the midst of all this playing,
however, I hear silence; in the midst of tuning, I
feel the descent of the curtain, and I call to myself,
in the form of a calling, faster, slower, faster, more
beautiful than I have known. Here I play off Jon's
guitar and Azure's songs, and weave and surge towards
the end; it's as if everything is an elegy, and elegy
is all I know.

Azure Carter, songs
Jon Woodson, guitar
Alan Sondheim, sarangi, viola, suroz,
electric saz, electric guitar, erhu, oud

Please listen soon; I'm not sure how long I can keep
these up. Thanks, Alan

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