Saturday 4 July 2015

Part of the process

Part of the process.
Sunny goodbyes. Amadeo gave me a bottle of a very special drink. He, Karen and Robert were all smiling happily as they were waving to me. “It’s a bummer that you are going away, but you will come back for the final preparation before the show!” Sylvie had said. The taxi took me to the airport in Thessaloniki, two hours drive away. The sky was blue, the air was warm. I ate a horrible tasting beef patty at the airport restaurant – 'Goodbye' it was named, served by not-too-kind waitresses but it didn’t matter. I felt good. Yes, back in Greece in 18 days.
The last rehearsal went very well. The musicians seem to know what they are doing, feel the music and get the spirit of each of the songs. Karen was very enthusiastic about the live arrangements. “It’s so rich and layered” she exclaimed after one rehearsal. Amadeo too, demanding a director as he is, showed signs of satisfaction. If everybody is satisfied, then I am satisfied.
“I’m so glad to be in Paris. Each time I’m back, it’s like waking up to a happy dream.” I said to Sébastien this morning after our tech meeting for the sound. Yes maybe that was a tad too enthusiastic. I had more than two weeks in front of me to just enjoy myself, see my friends, be with my family.
Part of the process? I guess it is a way to get philosophical when things don’t go the intended way. A mail from Adam, the producer of the show informed me this afternoon that the two rehearsals that followed my departure were disastrous. “The musicians don’t know exactly what they have to do. We need you to come back earlier. On the 14th at the latest” the email went on.
That is a bad sign. The musicians all seemed to be good and professional. I gave them tons of notes, took time with each of them to explain what I wanted. What else could I have done? The one thing missing – and it was crucial, was Karen’s singing. She had been practicing her moves with Amadeo and Robert, she sat with us during the rehearsals, read through her lyric sheets but had not sung a single note. I know she needs to feel a secure environment in order to sing. Being alone with the musicians and not being familiar with the sound of the new live arrangements must have distabilised her. I shall learn more from Karen when she is back in Paris.
Part of the process.

The other grey cloud came with an email from Shandy. Jay said he didn’t have a good feeling about the project and may not do it… I am starting to feel the same way. The music had been sent to the singer. The verdict from her was that the four songs were too heavy, too stressful, too similar - cello on all songs, she noted (it seems that the lady cannot make the difference between cello, violin and erhu, as the cello only appears on one song…)
Shandy ended the email writing that the music was too arty and that it should appeal to the general audience. I sent her a polite reply, explaining that the singer’s reaction was an understandable if defensive reaction to something completely foreign to her – after all, her credentials as musician were practically non-existent, so I wasn’t surprised. I suggested that they listened to the song again to get more familiar with it and let down their defences. The DunHuang Caves are not a holiday resort, I wrote back. Making easy-on-the-ear pop music for the exhibition would be as out of place as having a Lady Gaga song opening a show about Baroque music.
Another email confirmed my impression. They weren’t totally convinced by the music. Their explanation was confusing but I cannot force them to like it.
“I will let it sit and wait for them to listen to all the music again and make a decision” I wrote to Jay, who served as the intermediary between the two parties.
I felt bad for the musicians, for they gave me time for the pre-recordings, I felt bad because I wouldn’t be able to bring my parents to Vietnam at the end of the year.
One never knows. That’s my current state now. The day has been quite turbulent and nothing good can come out of it right now.

I must try to change my mind and not let my anger get the best of me. I was in Paris after all. Part of the process… 

No comments:

Post a Comment