Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Autumn of my Parisian life

Autumn of my life in Paris. In less than three weeks I’ll be flying to Asia. This flight will be the only a rehearsal for a more important one that shall take place next year. I’m now reaching a point where I’m seizing the fruit of my past, of all these months and years of self searching, but also where the now isn’t like any ordinary now, because important decisions have to be made. And I made one yesterday. I will be to leave France next year. I’m frightened, scared, yearning and mourning, but I’m being reborn. I cannot go on in this country anymore. My base has to be somewhere else. For now, I have set my future city to be New York. Then it will always be possible to have a secondary home in Paris. But the move has to be made, or I will keep on like this for many more years.
The realization wasn’t a difficult one. The acceptation of the obvious was. But if I had managed in the past to postpone the moment, I know now that there is no turning back.
And anyway, nothing much keeps me here. Yes, my parents. But even they have been saying that I had to go across the seas to succeed in my life.
I seem to work in cycles of seven years. I had remained seven years or so in Montmartre before moving here where I have lived seven years. Now it’s time for a new place. And a new country.

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Japanese time in Paris

Tsuyoshi has found the right way to describe the artwork of the PLAY 2 PLAY DVD: it looks like the poster of an amateur magician show. Only a hand holding a rabbit and a top hat are missing. Funny that Tsuyoshi, Mihara and I all ended frustrated by this experience.
We had a wonderful evening tonight with Mihara-san, who was on a short visit in Paris for business meetings. He brought the jacket that I had ordered from him before leaving Japan in May. I can’t wait to see his new collection!
We were in a Japanese restaurant next to the Café de Flore that specializes in soba noodles. Quite a feast we had! I met his wife, a contemporary/jazz/fusion pianist as she puts it. A lovely young woman full of charm and wit.
It didn’t feel like we were in Paris. Maybe London or New York. Mihara-san will open a new shop in Hong Kong exactly when I’m there.
His PR Noé-san has been asked to organize Jo’s upcoming wedding party in Tokyo. I don’t think I will go. I was asked to write music. But I don’t know what use they want to make of it. Play it during the party, make a CD of it…
I learned alarming facts about him from Tsuyoshi. I would like to hop on the next plane and take time to talk to him. Maybe I will do that in December if the occasion arises.
It seems he’s freaked out after creating PLAY 2 PLAY. This last piece was certainly too much for him to handle as it openly showed his current inner situation. A marriage was maybe a good way to divert his attention and a rising distress. But all the signs are here to point out that a change is – or was necessary. As much as I would love to help, I know there’s nothing I can do. Only he can make the decision. Tsuyoshi will try to grasp the good moment to talk with him. I tried to call him, wanted to write to him, but never felt that was the right thing…
Isn’t it our duty as friends to shake the tree even if it’s painful? Nicolas did it for me. It was far from pleasant, but the outcome was positive.

Wednesday, 24 October 2007


There was a package waiting for me in my mailbox this morning. I immediately recognized the Japanese express cardboard envelope. A CD had also arrived: Gustav Mahler and the late Viennese School chamber music (Mahler's only chamber music work, a single movement for piano and string trio. I had found it on the internet, but it took some time before I could find a CD release) 

I didn’t expect the delivery from Japan to be so quick. At last I would be able to show it to the people who would never see it otherwise. To show it to my French connection, Christophe and Isabelle who had played for the music from the other side of the globe.
It seems that the DVD experience with Noism will not be a happy one. If NINA had a good sound, but was filmed from too far a distance, PLAY 2 PLAY on the contrary, was beautifully shot, but the music seems to be played from a nearby hall. They could have used a separate track and mix it with the live caption… We hear the people coughing and the dancers walking on stage more distinctively than the music.
I don’t know whether I’m too perfectionist. I think I’m not. I’m surprised that Jo let it happen.
To crown my disappointment, there were some mistakes in spelling of the chapter titles: waltz became walts and the German word ‘ewig’ turn into ewing. Ironically, they added the English translation so non German-speaking people might understand the word.
The only good thing is that they didn’t use that horrible yellow colour on both sides of the sleeve cover.
Sighs, sighs, sighs…

A deep breath is needed. I’m going to start writing the three movements for Maëlle.
I have the tracks ready. Just need to put them together and record the piano.
Ah my beloved piano!!!!

The good news is that my father’s opera L'Arbalète magique will be performed at the Théâtre du Soleil – and not Théâtre de la Tempête, as I wrote it a few days ago.
Arianne Mnouchkine agreed to program it for the next season. More than kewl!

Monday, 15 October 2007

Life and death of Katie Olson

My King Lear experience a couple of weeks ago didn’t urge me to go see another play right away. My friend Sonia had staged and directed James Garner’s Life and Death of Katie Olson, a monologue for one actress. I knew Sonia had a flair for stage and getting a good performance from the actors. This time, her vision was simply beautiful in its simplicity. Marie Notte was outstanding as Katie Olson, a solitary pyromaniac woman who reflects on her life as she’s waiting for her death in prison.
I knew we the audience were not to be treated with a comedy. However the play was gripping.
Two old women showed up for the performance. I startled when I saw them, wanted to warn them that what they were to see wasn’t for the faint-hearted.
Sonia placed the audience around the stage. We were like the walls of the prison cell. The two women sat at the opposite side of me, so I could observe them. They hardly flinched during the performance. I thought they would leave or be shocked. They seemed very attentive and taken by the story and applauded heartily at the end.
I understood when I received a pamphlet against death penalty from them. These two women were very active in that field and were trying to people’s consciousness about that issue. The eldest was keeping in touch with David Lynn Carpenter who’s now awaiting his execution in Texas.
She was full of fire and energy, which totally contrasted with her darling old woman

Sunday, 14 October 2007

L’Arbalète Magique

Premiere today of my father’s chamber opera L’Arbalète Magique (The magic bow).
It was a very moving moment to see my father holding my mother’s hand as they walked on stage to take a bow. I believe my mother didn’t expect that, but since she wrote the libretto it was fair for her to receive the audience’s applauds.
The publishing company Acte Sud released a book including both the text and a recording of the opera as the third of a series of seven tales from seven different countries commissioned by contemporary ensemble Musicatreize.

Quite strangely, the premiere took place in a theatre in the middle of nowhere in Normandie. A cute little town with a fairly big theatre. When you live in the province, the cultural life is different than in Paris where people are just spoiled. So I wasn’t surprised to see so many people showing up to attend the performance.
I had heard some rumours about a possible premiere at the Théâtre de la Tempête near Paris, since it was the assistant of Arianne Mnouchkine’s who was directing it. Now, another rumour has it that the opera may be on the next season program.
So we were a happy bunch driving to Normandie. Family, relatives and friends.
My parents were very happy to see this gathering. It was a fine day out. The weather was gorgeous and, as Julia put it, “we had an overdose of oxygen”.

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Then and now

It’s been confirmed; the installment for the purchase of the piano has been accepted! It will be delivered on Thursday morning. That means a thorough clean up and new arrangement of my (little) flat.

I’ve been to my uncle’s again yesterday to introduce Nicolas to him. We don’t know whether Nicolas’ gift will be of any help, but any help is welcome.
My uncle looked so happy to have people come and visit him. I made it clear that they would have to get rid of many of their unused and unnecessary belongings that they have accumulated through the years. Changes happen everywhere for so many of us! My uncle more than welcomed the offer. He complained that this habit of his wife’s to keep anything turned their home into a squirrel’s granary. Having guests has then become an embarrassing experience for him.
I’ll start next Wednesday. I must confess that I dread that day!
The book is progressing. Philippe has done all the photographs of the paintings and the sketches. A decision has to be taken regarding the introduction text. A common friend of my parents’ and my uncle’s wrote a very nice review back in 1978. It presented my uncle’s work with refreshing enthusiasm. A second text was penned by him, nearly thirty years later.
Not the same man anymore he is, of course. His views have changed, though not his admiration he keeps professing for my uncle. But the simple and refreshing breeze has vanished and what remain are words trying too hard to convince. My parents didn’t like this text either.
I have made my opinion clear to everyone, but it’s not up to me to decide.

I have updated my last.fm page and added my stage works. The two Jo Kanamori ballets and Nina’s hidden Glass. Now I have to go tell on the mountain. At least now there’s a place where people can listen to my work.
I spent hours long designing the new covers for the stage works.

Thursday, 4 October 2007

My piano!!!

The overture I wrote last year for the concert opening will also be the opening of the second album Pandaemonium. It contains some elements from the previous album and will be a bridge between old and new. I introduced a choral part at the end that will be the core of a long, epic song that I will sing with a choir and possibly an orchestra. More like a modern time cantata than a song.  This album will be more than just a string of songs; the soundtrack of an imaginary novel.


I just signed for the piano! If all goes well, the instrument will be delivered in exactly one week. I know where it’s going to be placed, in spite of an obvious lack of room in this studio flat of mine. My fingers are itching, just thinking about it. I feel I’m entering my new life! The rental rate will have me paying for it for ten years, but I will try to accelerate the process as soon as I get better financially. Ten years for a piano… That’s a joke! I may be dead even I finish paying for it!

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

A big decision

I will not go to New York. I will focus on Asia. A return to the source. A two-month residency to write my second album. I have secured the financial aspect of it, so there’s no need to worry about money or flight tickets. As a friend said, what matters is that I create the best environment to create.

Another decision that may come like a whim of mine but is in fact the result of a slow maturation: I will buy a piano. I passed a piano shop yesterday and suddenly felt compelled to enter it. I saw one black piano on which a silent system was installed; exactly what I need to keep a friendly atmosphere in the neighbourhood.
How could I have spent so many years without a piano? That now  is a mystery to me. I don’t want to keep asking my friends to use their piano as Alexandre Tharaud does, or rent studios each time I have to practice or rehearse with someone.
The thought got me so excited that I could hardly sleep yesterday. I will go back to the shop tomorrow. They propose a rental service that makes you the owner of the piano when the whole price is paid. This may take a couple of years of more depending on the monthly fee. The best option for me!
This is really a new beginning. Priorities are now unavoidable.