Sunday 22 February 2015

Spring X

The premiere of Spring X [I hear and I forget] took place yesterday at the City Hall in central Hong Kong. Samuel attended the concert but I understood by his silence that his reaction was not exactly enthusiastic. “I had the feeling each of the musicians were playing something different. Not much connection with the music”.
I had received a rough recording of the first rehearsal a week or so ago. Timothy gets a beautiful sound out of his saxophone. The pianist however just banged on her piano. Another one of those musicians who may have a good technique but who are clueless when it comes to the musical text. Unfortunately, I could not come to Hong Kong as I  had wished, so I recorded the first two pages of the piano part and sent it to show her. I also suggested them to have an online rehearsal, wrote a full page full of notes, but I didn’t hear anything from them. I remember that another of the composers joked that the more notes and indications, the better Tim would play…
The fire of our online exchanges died down after Tim received the score. I was myself apprehensive and wondered what they'd would think of it. I gather that they were underwhelmed by the music. They expected a firework showpiece; I wrote something moody and atmospheric about the loss of memory. “I wish it were more difficult…” Timothy’s first remark was. No doubt he got that from the other composers who contributed to the concert.
But there is no surprise, after all. I was approached from my Facebook artist page. He had no idea what kind of music I wrote. I had no clue what kind of repertoire he played. Classical? Pop? Contemporary? Jazz? "We play everything" he told me. What I found about him online verged more toward the crossover territory. I saw a music video of him covering "Can't get my eyes off you". "Oh no!!! Don't watch that" he wrote to me. "That's my commercial side. I have to make money. And then I can also do more serious stuffs.." His good look got him to be on the cover of a few magazines. He seemed to be touring quite a lot.
What kind of musician was Timothy Sun? I didn’t know then, and I still don’t really know now. A charming and likeable bloke, from what I have seen. What I do know though, was that he fancied me - not really the most  solid reason to commission music from someone…
And when I asked about the commission itself and promised the composer’s fees, I got a total dead silence from him in response. Unfortunate, sadly unfortunate. I would have written – and I actually did, the piece for nothing at all, had he asked me. “That’s the Hong Kong attitude” a friend told me. I wouldn’t want to think that everybody in Hong Kong would behave like that. Maybe I just don’t know. Maybe Tim was embarrassed and didn’t dare to talk to me. Maybe he just tossed me away when he found out I couldn’t be had, physically or musically, the way he wished.
At least, I got to write a new chamber piece. Perhaps not the best work I have written, however, I hope to get an opportunity to perform it sometime soon – and possibly revise it.  
"The audience loved your piece" he wrote on one of his last messages. 

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