Threnody for Tristan Tzara

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We had not seen or heard from Sam for a few days, so we walked over to his house to make sure he was okay. It was a beautiful, sunny day. November gold everywhere in the trees, in the vineyards. Off in the distance barking sanglier dogs. The sweet aroma of burning chêne and hêtre.

When we walked up to Sam’s house, we heard him inside banging on the piano and belting out Sprechstimme like an ecstatic speaking/singing in voices.

The front door was wide open, so we stepped inside and waited quietly for Sam to resolve himself undisturbed. His fingerings trailed off to a final whispery plink. He groaned a husky “Too bad.” Sensing us in the room, he turned around and grinned.

“Just in time,” he said, grasping a sheaf of papers off the music stand. “I think I’m ready to have somebody give this a look.”

“This the commemorative piece?” I asked, knowing that it was. For months he has been busy with his not-so-secret centenary tribute to Tristan Tzara and the Cabaret Voltaire’s opening and the birth of dada and all that came therefrom.

“Still a work in progress,” he said. “I still want to add some sketches and maybe some audio to bring it to life.” He arranged the pages in his hands into a neat stack and handed it to me. “Muse on this, bud.”

Threnody for Tristan Tzara by Samuel Santos-Dumont


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