[NetBehaviour] dispossessed viola sutra

Alan Sondheim sondheim at panix.com
Sat Nov 24 20:20:02 CET 2018

dispossessed viola sutra


alan sondheim, viola
thirty-two minutes open tuning
for those suffering at the hands of others

walking around here in the apartment or out into the streets
following my usual small route, this is the way i can come to
grips what what can only be unimaginable, no matter how hard i
try to comprehend what has gone on in this and every other place
in the world for millennia; i'm faced with it here, and now,
co-presenced to be sure, co-presenting. there is activism and
donation and we do that to be sure, and presentation; there is
also the hollow strands of sound, coagulating like blood, torn
like muscle and marrow, healed like the world heals for a moment
before the next onslaught. this (musical) figure, these figures
came to mind; so then there is what you hear, what for me is an
action, internal to be sure, cultivated as well, released for no
reason but the question itself: what is an act, a doing, what
comes forth, what retreats? here then, for whatever worth you
might find in it; i'm well aware art can muster little, almost
nothing, perhaps teaching, didacticism, or parallel inscription
as if there were community or communication. i found when i was
playing this particular series, my right hand bowed for the full
32+, but with my left hand, i released the neck, did a few quick
finger exercises, before coupling once again with the viola. so
the structure had this (absent) uncoupling. and it is
inconceivable to me, what the forced separation of a child from
her or his parents might do; what starvation around one might
feel like; what the mind does itself to couple and uncouple. and
i find, as most of us do, those who promulgate these tactics are
criminals of the worst order; there is no excuse. i feel that
our tactics in this regard have little effect; it's difficult to
face, anywhere in the world, that there are bullies with weapons
who demonize everyone in their way, whose purpose is always
armored, who means of negotiation involve torture or reaching
for a gun. i believe in the power of art, but in the face of a
gun, in the face of annihilation, what then? so there are small
bright lights in our benighted country - those of the midterm
elections for example. but in the shadow of global climate
catastrophe, desertification, genocide and violence, what then?
the dispossessed viola sutra comes out of that, a fair piece of
music indeed, in the fading light of what passes for an
accompanying world in which i have lived too long, and written
far too poorly.

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