Wednesday 22 May 2013


Simon is crazy! He had been pining for an online conversation for a few weeks already. I knew some ideas made their way in his mind after he attended my concert with the Berliner Symphoniker. I had no clue what he would come up with, in spite of some hints in ensuing conversations, about how he would see me perform my own music, writing more instrumental or orchestral pieces...
I was less enthusiastic about the outcome of the concert. There has been no review, merely mentions of the event. Nothing more. Of course, I was highly aware what great honour it was to have had my work performed in such a prestigious concert hall. But I was also aware of the many flaws I have found in the work itself. My friends tell me to be kinder to myself. It was my first attempt at writing a symphonic piece, after all. Indeed, I was content and satisfied, but I was not as enthusiastic as Simon. He seemed to get something else out of it. However, I agreed that it was high time to put myself in the front and do more personal projects instead of hiding myself behind other people's projects, choreographers, film makers, directors or would-be singers - sinking ships, as Simon called them.
"Why not form your own ensemble and peform your work?" he asked me a couple of months ago.
We left it at that.
So Simon had been talking to Jochen Thärichen, the manager of the Berliner Symphoniker about an idea he had been nurturing for some time: to bring Passage to the concert hall and have it performed by an orchestra with me and my ensemble. No less!!! The many movements of Passage were written during the tragic events in Fukushima and the tsunami that devastated Japan. Maybe it was the zeitgeist, I was already working on it when I learned the news. I often create music with a premonition. My intuition compels me to do certain things and it's only much later that I understand why.
One of the movements from Passage was entitled Der Abschied (the farewell, in German). It featured an old Japanese man reciting the Japanese translation of the text that Gustav Mahler used for the last song of the Lied von der Erde cycle. I recorded him in 2007 when we were working on PLAY 2 PLAY with Jo Kanamori in Niigata. We tried to use the text in the music but didn't find any suitable moment for it - much to the old man's disappointment. I remembered it as I was composing Passage and it all suddenly made perfect sense: the Japanese man, the choice of the titles der Abschied / Passage...
Simon's idea was to perform the piece, me and my ensemble with the orchestra and invite a famous stage or movie actor for the spoken part. He boldly contacted Japanese conductor Yasuo Shinozaki to tell him about the project. His aim is to premiere the project in Japan for a concert in memory of the event. Yasuo Shinozaki said he was interested. Herr Thärichen also seemed to be delighted by the idea but said that it would not happen before two years, for the orchestra and I had already collaborated this year.

This seems to be a very exciting project/ Simon has always loved the music and kept suggesting me to do something about it. I didn't judge the work worthy of more effort. And now I see how. 

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