Monday, 26 February 2007


Two weeks and I will be flying back to Niigata. I had been telling people I still had three weeks, and the realization sent a gush of panic through my body.
I have 46 minutes of music now. I will see Christophe and Isabelle a couple of times this week and next week to write the next two movements. Christophe has kindly agreed to lend me the sound of his wonderful cello.
The last movement I wrote is ending with Isabelle’s singing. What follows will be a cello number. A slow waltz backed by an urban sound rhythm pattern, which will then lead to a final choir moment, this time well structured, less random as it was in the Triangular Response movement. The wrote melody many, many years ago. It almost sounds like a Hebrew song with a touch of Borodin. Then the theme will be reprised by the cello and give way to the finale, Isabelle's big moment!

Thursday, 22 February 2007

Working on the music - PLAY 2 PLAY

A violent battle has started between my mind which wants to emulate music that has inspired me (my father’s music, to my very surprise), and I, trying to keep the focus on my own path. This fourth movement I’m writing for PLAY 2 PLAY has been taking days and days to take shape. On the other hand, I couldn’t expect to pen a new movement every day. I had this idea of triangular dialogue rotating in space. However the course from mental visualization to musical materialization is filled with revelations and new developments.
Now it’s finished. I had one session with Isabelle and recorded some primary vocals that I later edited. I recorded my own vocals to form the choir parts.
I must have done too much recording because the adaptor of my external sound card caught fire… I was aware of some strange smell of plastic burning but I couldn’t spot where it was coming from…
Fortunately, it caught fire when I finished working on the movement. Like a firework celebrating the final touch.

Friday, 16 February 2007

Little Children

I saw a beautiful film: Little Children, by Todd Field. Everybody must see it! I bumped into it when I was in New York. I was intrigued by it. I had the cd in my hands two days ago at the store. But I hadn’t seen any ad about it. It would have vanished in the pool of the unknown and ignored if I hadn’t stood in front of the board presenting all the films currently being screened. Nothing that caught my eyes. Then I recognized the poster and a little voice inside urged me to pick that film. 

Tuesday, 13 February 2007

Bévinda in concert

I took Nicolas to Bévinda’s concert. He loved her. She was good although I still think that she doesn’t use enough of her star quality. That tendency of hers to hides behind her musicians…It’s really a shame. Julia agreed with me.
And we all agreed that the opening act was a bad choice. I took an instant dislike of her as soon as I heard the first chords. She hadn’t even started singing! I then understood why. The girl just spent twenty interminable minutes on stage taking revenge and spitting her venom under the guise of a protest singer.

Libération has also published my picture of Bévinda. Let’s face it, it’s soothing ointment for my ego!!!

Monday, 12 February 2007

Tel qu'Elle

Some good and bad things today. The good things always come as unexpected surprises or a piece of news that brings lightheartedness in the house, while the bad are the usual old bloody virus that keeps reappearing in different guises.
Bévinda called me this morning to invite me for her concert tomorrow. She will be singing Serge Gainsbourg Tel qu'Elle, her tribute album to the famous French songwriter. Julia will be there and I have asked Nicolas to join as well, seeing that he likes that record.
The pleasant surprise came when she let me know that one of the pictures I took of her a few months ago had been picked to illustrate an interview with her in the music magazine Les Inrockuptibles!
Amaury also did some portraits of her, but my ‘non professional’ photographic eye seems to be gaining some recognition.

Speaking of recognition, I received an envelope from Gang – wishing I would get this last chunk of money I badly need at the moment. Well no. Papers to sign as well as the registration form for Sur le Fil as a new stage work. 60% for the choreographer, 40 % for me as a composer. Was it still the work of his unconscious? Was it plain ignorance? He even thought he was making me a favor by sharing 40% with me. What would he think if he attended a performance of The Rite of Spring without Stravinsky’s music...
I was so furious that I left him a tense message on the phone. Maybe I should have, but that was the little drop of water I couldn’t take in my ocean of patience and understanding.
Let’s see how he reacts to that.

I’m happy because I keep on meeting such nice people! 

Wednesday, 7 February 2007

Fawn Fruit

Daniel Hyun Lim, a New York based Korean artist and illustrator has asked me to be his model for his next project: a children book where I would be turned into a young father of a two year old girl, married to an American woman. That sweet little family owns a dog that can speak twelve different languages!
I fell in love Daniel’s work ever since I discovered it on Myspace. A poetic blend of Western and Asian inspirations, soft yet powerfully imaginative, always on the verge. He said he would find a project for us. I was wondering what. We didn’t manage to meet when I was in New York. But I’m delighted about this children book.

I did a few shots with Mathieu – they look the typical actor headshot. We were not that inspired but a few portraits came out very well. I have sent one to Noism as an ‘official’ portrait in the program. Were I a writer, I would use this photo for the back cover of my novels. Not really me, but my friends say it presents me a self confident and poised man. He he!

Tuesday, 6 February 2007

Running from Murmurs

Finished a third movement for Play 2 Play. For it, I refashioned, revised and extended one movement from Sur le Fil . I named it ‘Running from the murmurs’.
I added a whole cello prelude in the beginning that develops into the murmurs section. Since I didn’t have the time to do any new recordings, I used the cello parts Christophe played for the song Healing. It brings a strangely elegiac and oriental tone which isn’t unwelcome.
I played it to Tsuyoshi who liked it very much. We had a little appointment this afternoon and our talk gave birth to an idea for another movement: a trio between a soprano, a male singer and a female choir. I remember that particular concert by the vocal ensemble A Sei Voci I attended some fifteen years ago where they performed Allegri’s famous Miserere. They sang it the way it used to be done in the 16th century, two groups singing to each other from both ends of the church. For this movement, I will place the three parts in a triangular soundspace which will rotate as the music goes on.

I’m seeing Isabelle on Friday and will see in what mood she is. I have the feeling she has returned to the safer ground of acting. A shame. It looks like the sense of guilt and the desire to do good in the eyes of the others have been stronger than her inner wish to sing.
Anyway, nothing’s lost for her, and who knows what the future will bring her.
Jo told me in a letter today that the full length version of NINA will be scheduled next year at the Kennedy Center! In July the company will perform it in Moscow! Long live NINA!!!!

Portraits I did of Isabelle after the music sessions

Sur le Fil

When I think that not even a week ago, I was still in New York having a drink with Beppe...
I've hardly had the time to breathe since I came back to Paris. Gang Peng's dance piece Sur le Fil (On the rope) had just had its premiere a few days before my return and was to go on for another week. I had lots of musical readjustments to do as well as a rewrite of the epilogue. The piece was fairly well received, at least from the audience. They welcomed it with big applause - that's good for the dancers, they really deserved the accolade. However some critics pointed out rightly that the piece itself had its good and sometime wonderful moments, but never managed to take off. And I couldn't agree more. I guess it's due to a lack of means, and rehearsal time. Conditions were pretty harsh for everyone to really develop and mature. Will I be bold to say it's the choreographer’s limitation. Hip hop isn’t his language. It was a wise move to use it. It’s justly considered a form of contemporary dance, but Gang proved weighed down by all the possibilities which really never matched his own ideas. Some good scenes indeed, but they could have grown and give a fuller shape to the basic ideas.
As far as music is concerned, I couldn't totally express myself. Gang and I didn't reach that zone of mutual understanding and trust. I find he's using his head too much instead of following his intuition and his creative impulse, and I was sad to see that he overlooked my work. Maybe because I am a friend (I think I should look up the meaning of that word in the dictionary again). He does now, because he saw the audience's reaction to the music. My father says it’s rather common to many choreographers. They merely need sound to dance to, have no real sense for music and want the spotlight only on themselves. No wonder then that Gang wanted to perform that final dance even though it had no much bearing with the rest of the piece; a way to leave his signature, even if he will certainly find some artistically profound reason to deny that. What displeased me is that my name is hardly mentioned anywhere except on the program sheet. Is that a sign? My father experienced the same scenario with Régine Chopinot. She acknowledged his work, but was almost jealous of the attention it got from the audience and the press and later avoided to have him invited to interviews and even to some performances. People like Jo are rare indeed.
Anyway, yesterday's performance went well. The dancers finally found their pace and were much more relaxed and focused.
I attempted to attend today. It usually takes forever to reach the theatre. But it was even worse on Sunday. I tried another route and gave myself two hours or so to make my way there. Two hours... I must have been joking. Actually, three would have been necessary. That was becoming silly. I found myself in a deserted residential area with no bus nor taxi to catch. Time ran by and it was past the beginning of the show. What else to do than go back home? I must say that I didn't really want to attend. My job was done, I did more than my share and showed understanding, helpfulness and selflessness. I guess they can do without me now. End of the story.
I have started writing music for Jo's next piece. Second movement is now penned. I played it to Tsuyoshi, the stage designer and he liked it. There are some instruments to add to enhance the dramatic tension, but I'm quite pleased with the result. I also think I will use some musical elements I have developed for Gang's piece. I feel the music hasn't reached its full potential. Tsuyoshi will be going to Japan next week, I will try to finish one more movement and give him the cd so he can hand it to Jo.
The energy in Paris is draining. I have come to realize that my projects work much better when abroad. It's much too hard in France. I love the country, but once again, I have to face it: nothing is going to happen here. So I have decided to turn it into some neutral middle ground and give my energy to Asia and the US.

In one month, I'll be in Japan!!!! Yeeheee!