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
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.
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.
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
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.
Brendel hasn’t aged.
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
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
crowd that gathered tonight, it could have been a new Woodstock, a pop concert or a demonstration
for human rights.
another polka!’ he said by the end of the concert. ‘That was cool! That was
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.