Friday, 13 July 2007

Summer feel

Jo has told me the editing for the PLAY 2 PLAY DVD is finished and that he is quite happy with the result. Unfortunately he chose not to use the backside footages. They were filmed from too close an angle and didn’t come out well.
A shame.
It had started as a very good project: a package that will include 2 DVDs, one for each side performance, plus an additional CD for the soundtrack. Tsuyoshi wanted to make a booklet.
But the problem is that Kazumo, the production company that will release the DVD is a very small one, and they did the shooting of the performance for free. So Jo is a bit stuck because he cannot ask them to do too much. The sales are only for Japan. No effort has been made to broaden the scope for potential international interest in Noism and Jo’s work.
Since Kazumo has not much money to do a worldwide promotion, the DVDs become a confidential item meant for fans only.
Despite my efforts and Tsuyoshi’s, things won’t change – much to our chagrin. The DVD of PLAY 2 PLAY will merely include a DVD of the front stage performance. Nothing more. I hope they make a better menu, with chapters and more substantial bonuses.
However, I went to the Palais de Tokyo in Paris and asked the shop whether they’d be interested in having some Noism DVD for sale and they seemed to show some enthusiasm about the idea. I will try the same in some other places like the Centre George Pompidou as well as Colette.

I walked on the rue Quicampoix the other day and stopped in front of what used to be the Editions Jobert, a publishing company specialized in 20th century music. They were the ones who owned the right to most of Debussy’s works. My father also had the majority of his music published by them.
Madame Jobert, as we called her eventually retired and left the legacy to her grand-son Tristan. But Tristan doesn’t know a thing about music, much less contemporary music and showed more interest in starting another publishing company that had little to do with music. Ironically, the last work of Debussy that the Editions Jobert published was his unfinished incidental music to Edgar Poe’s Fall of the House of Usher. Now it’s the Fall of the House of Jobert, as some people cruelly remarked. After a few years of rather clueless management that drowned the whole company, Tristan declared that the Editions Jobert were a thing of the past and sold it. Many composers were understandably alarmed by the news. Fortunately for my father, his music will be secured by the Editions Lemoine, one of the few remaining music publishing companies in France.
So when I walked on the Rue Quincampoix and saw the ‘For sale’ board, I couldn’t help but feel some sadness at the thought that a whole era was indeed over.

Do people still like music? I would think so. What the music industry doesn’t understand is that they are responsible for the downfall of a market they created. Music should not be considered as a product one can sell like a box of cookies. And when they substitute real musicians and artists by these short-lived counterfeit acts, how could they expect people to keep on following and blindly give their money away for empty noise they call music?
Downloading was maybe an unconscious reaction but it was a natural consequence.
Enough of being told what to buy, what to listen to, what to like and whom to admire.
So during one of my endless walks, I found myself in the Opera area and felt the impulse to go to the Fnac store. Instead I found a Monoprix store. Food instead of music. Wasn’t that a sign?
A friend had told me that the Fnac had decided to stop selling music in the stores in the coming four or five years, starting with classical music next year, because CDs make only 20% of their profits.
Hopefully that will mean the rebirth of small record shops. And we’ll still have Virgin Megastore.

I really am curious to see where all this will lead to. Where can one go if money is the sole aim in life…

Today was Andersen’s last day in Paris. I wanted it to be a perfect last day. Summer had finally made its majestic entrance.
We were supposed to have a last singing session this afternoon at Bévinda’s. She gave me the key to her flat so I could play on her piano whenever she wasn’t there.  But things didn’t run as planned. I had this funniest feeling that we just shouldn’t bother. We didn’t work either the previous day. Something just made us take our time and it was much too late when we decided to finally start working.
Isabelle, who was to join us today cancelled at the last minute. The call of summer was so strong; she had to enjoy the day. And she was right.
When we got to Bévinda to pick our music sheets, we found two young girls at her doorstep. Who were they? Her nieces. They couldn’t open the door. They saw me hold my own key to the flat with astonishment. Who was this Asian guy?
My intuition was right. Had Isabelle come, had we decided to work this afternoon, we would have made a surprise entry into a day with Bévinda, her nieces and nephew - cute 6 year old Denzel.

The sun was shining so I took Andersen for a walk. As we passed the Archives Nationales we were given the program of a music festival showcasing the talents of young classical musicians. It was to take place in the main room of this beautiful building. I always welcome it when the wind blows me to another unexpected direction, so we bought the tickets. On tonight’s program were Fauré’s first piano quartet and Ernest Chausson’s Concert for piano, violin and string quartet.
The young talents were indeed very milky-face young. Twenty two at the most. Particularly outstanding was the promising pianist Alain Laloum. He was the only one who really knew what he was doing and radiated some musical aura. Perfect technique and a wonderful touch. I’m sure we’ll hear about him in the coming years.

My two weeks in the company of Andersen have re-connected me to my happy self. I feel like singing again. If I have managed to give a hint about how to approach the music, and introduced him to Nicole Fallien, his magnificent baritone has inspired me to re-embrace mine with delight and joy.

Play list for today

Ryuichi Sakamoto - Anger (Chocolate Weasel Bad Hair Day Mix) | Bévinda – L’anamour | Mika – Lollipops | Tanaka Roma – Breathe | Regina Spektor - Uh-Merica | Madonna – Bad Girl (Live at Saturday Night Live) | Lotte Lenya – Speak low | Max Raabe & Das Palast Orchester - Night and Day | Jimmy Scott – Nothing compares 2U | Gidon Kremer - Astor Piazzolla:  Concierto del angel | Michèle Atlani - Au Parc Sévigné (Live in Saarbrücken) | Miles Davis – Blue in green | Teresa Berganza – Toldrà:  Seis Canciones Castellanas | Björk – Innocence (Carsten Nicolai Alva Noto Unitxt remodel 12" remix) |

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