Monday, 27 August 2012

Double Yellow Line II

Now I know...
Now I know. Now I know. Now I know. Now I know. Now I know. Now I know!!!
First rehearsal at the National Theatre with Huang Yi and Hu Chien, after weeks of apparent inactivity. It was vital that we be in the same room in order to come out with something. The music I would write on my own didn't satisfy Huang Yi. It's a very particular experience to work with him. He can't tell exactly what he wants, but he can tell when it isn't right. And more often than not, it wasn't right.
We still have more than a month ahead before the first performance. Yet, being left in this state of total uncertainty wasn't the most comfortable feeling.
But... Now I know

We worked in a spacious studio at the theatre, with a Yamaha grand piano. Huang Yi was concerned about how to connect the many ideas and sketches of dance he had worked on. During one of our sessions at my place, I managed to come up with that one piece which immediately won him over. I was trying to see what would come out of my fingers if I started moving and imagining the hands of the dancers intertwining on the keyboard. 
"I like it very much!!!! I think it's going to the be main theme of Double Yellow Line" Huang Yi exclaimed. Looking at him, I could obviously see that I had hit the target. But what target, I did not know yet. 
The fragment I had just played sounded like a pastiche of Bach. I told him so. 
"But it doesn't matter! It's exactly what I want!" was his reply. 
"Yes but when it comes to Bach, I have to kneel on the floor and grovel grovel..." I joked. 
Huang Yi laughed.
So we had one thing. 
I had been giving him and Hu Chien some piano lessons. He wanted to play something that would take the audience by surprise. So instead of thinking of technique, I tried to see to what pianistic movements they would respond the best and create the music accordingly. To my greatest surprise, they were very fast. The key was to speak a dancer's language.

Today's session started with a big blank. I really had no idea. Whatever I would play sounded so boring and bland to me. 
I could see Huang Yi was as lost as I was.
Then the magic came. Instead of searching and trying hard to find, I just caught what came to me. Huang Yi was showing me the beginning where he had to move like a robot. What I heard was long, simple chords which would leave space to imagination and especially to his movements. I played a little and I saw that expression on his face: we had found it!

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