The minimal Means of Carl Unthan

The minimal Means of Carl Unthan (1981)

first performance: May 13-1981, Theater ’t Hoogt, Utrecht
Polo de Haas – piano

The violonist Carl Unthan scored many triumphs around 1900. Remarkable, because he was born without arms. He played the violin with his feet… The pianist is also handicapped. He has very limited musical material at his disposal. Inevitably, this leads to the idiom of ‘minimal music’. At the end he tries to escape from his handicap by using his voice. He quotes part of a foot-written letter by Carl Unthan to his manager.

tekst: My performance has been seen here and in London by P.L. Cooney, John D. Hopkins and various other American managers and everyone of them was afraid to introduce me in the U.S. ‘for fear of feet’, so that I had come to the conclusion those useful lower members must have been rather neglected by the U.S. public to cause such an animosity. Well, I shall come and see myself and I trust that I’ll do like Caesar: vene, vidi, vici. I wish and hope that the New York public will reward your courage and flock in by thousands to see my act. You fully deserve it. Most faithfully yours, Carl Unthan.