On Playing Duets With Friends Rumi speaks of union with the divine - the Beloved - as a marriage. The title duet of this album offers images that remind us of such unions: honey dissolving in milk, women laughing together for days on end, the leaves and fruit of a date tree, a pale moon in a light blue sky. Musical duets can be like fine marriages in high art, replete with intimacy, ongoing trust, passionate joining, the cool trick of hearing the sound of another emanating from yourself, the being in another, but via the music. Athletes, actors, strangers, and all varieties of ensemble musicians know this; all compassionate and empathetic people know this - it's a special form of the primordial connection. The special-ness of this album consists in friendships long and deep. The current of love running through these friendships is absolutely personal yet universal in the same moment. It can be playful as kids horsing around in the den, or being secretly dangerous together in the woods. Maybe I'd tousle my friend's red hair, or dare my big sister to jump over a ditch; maybe forty years of passing in and out of each other's lives opens out into this chord, this string's down bow, the sudden rightness of this gong stroke, or a melted life of thankfulness in one of Devi's long melismatic glides. This album offers duets with Terry Riley, minimalist composer; Hamza El Din, Nubian oud and tar player; Shira Kammen, violin & violist extraordinaire and early music disciple; Joan Jeanrenaud, cellist and composer, formerly with the Kronos Quartet; Devi Mathieu, divine soprano; and the russet-backed thrushes who live by the creek in my home valley. William Allaudin Mathieu (b. 1937) is a pianist, composer, teacher, recording artist, and author. He has composed a variety of chamber and choral works and made numerous solo piano recordings. He has written three books on music - The Listening Book; The Musical Life; and Harmonic Experience: Tonal Harmony from It's Natural Origins to It's Modern Expression. Allaudin was a disciple of North Indian vocalist Pandit Pran Nath for 25 years. He studied African music with Nubian musician Hamza El Din, jazz with William Russo, and European classical music with Easley Blackwood. In the 1960s, he spent several years as an arranger/composer for Stan Kenton and Duke Ellington, and was the musical director for the Second City Theater in Chicago (which he helped found) and for the Committee Theater in San Francisco. In the 1970s, he served on the faculties of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and Mills College. In 1969 he founded the Sufi Choir, which he directed until 1982. The past two decades Allaudin has devoted to composition, performance, recording, teaching, and writing from his home near Sebastopol, California.