Sunday, 30 May 2004

Circlesong: Getting ready

Today is the first official day of work on Circlesong. I chose not to bring the keyboard I used when I did the demos. I didn’t want to go back. I will trust what comes ahead.
I felt the same on my first working session with Régine Chopinot. I wanted to get preprared. But a little voice inside me knew better and prevented me from preparing anything, so I went to La Rochelle with lots of doubts and questions but also the certainty that everything will be fine. Once you have to get going, you go.
New ideas are coming to my head. I will keep all the midi programming I had done, but will use them with new sounds. The joy of having a more 'professional' sound. Those demos have done their time now!!! Mario has got hold of excellent software which uses orchestral samples that outrageously sound so live! Even my father suggested that I could have a violin or a viola play on top of sampled strings. 

Friday, 28 May 2004

Alfred Brendel in talk

Simon couldn’t resist telling what it was. The surprise. Even though it would no longer be a surprise once he’d have told me.
I was on internet chatting with him, me in Paris, him in Vienna. So after a minute of guessing, I found out he got tickets to see Alfred Brendel playing at the prestigious Musikvereinssaal.
That name is like a ‘madeleine de Proust’. Say it and I would instantly see a scene of my childhood. Not only my times at the piano – which weren’t that joyous then. Maybe one of those harmonious family evenings, with the two parents reading silently and me and my brother making up new games, while a Beethoven or Schubert record would be playing on the stereo.
When I saw Alfred Brendel explaining to the audience his choice for the upcoming concert, I was more moved by the aerial passion he was exhaling, than what he had to say.
Here was a man who’d devoted his entire life to music. I don’t know how he was like as a young artist. It took time, he said. Now he’s taking time, and hopefully, will have a little more time to take.
Non Alfred Brendel hasn’t aged.
And we’re still alive!

Wednesday, 26 May 2004

Alfred Brendel

It immediately struck me that the man I saw coming in the shop was Alfred Brendel. Then I thought twice; maybe he just looks like Alfred Brendel. And the man’s eyes were blue. Were Alfred Brendel’s eyes blue? Since I’ve only seen black and white pictures of him, it was impossible for me to tell. That’s the problem when you know somebody from pictures only. You don’t know how they walk, talk, how tall they are, what body language they have. You remember one photograph in particular, but it’s an old one. And if it’s a profile, then you’re done. Do people age in a picture? How did Alfred Brendel age? I thought he would always be the same young man I remembered from the booklet of the Beethoven record set my parents would play when I was a child. How would it feel three decades or so later?
But that man was Alfred Brendel. I heard him talk two days before at the Musikverein, and I saw him walk. I was surprised by how tall he was. I thought he would be the Woody Allen type. Or my father type. But his mild manners are deceiving.

A open air concert isn’t my ideal of a classical concert. But tonight, Bobby McFerrin is conducting the Wiener Philharmoniker. A celebration for Europe to be taking place at the Schönbrunn Palace garden.
From the crowd that gathered tonight, it could have been a new Woodstock, a pop concert or a demonstration for human rights.
‘Let’s play another polka!’ he said by the end of the concert. ‘That was cool! That was fun!’
That cool rasta man conducting a Viennese waltz was a sight not to be missed. And above all, he didn’t let the orchestra take it for granted. So during the rehearsal, one of the Viennese anthems, ‘Wiener Blut’, was stopped, resumed, stopped again, replayed from the beginning. The program might have been a corny one, but Master McFerring never allowed it be a boring one.