martes, 29 de mayo de 2007

Birthday of the romantics tomorrow

Strange that I idolize the romantics, while I can't find anything romantic in myself !

And it is quite a coincidence that two of my romantic heroes have the same day as their birthdays, almost 2 centuries apart.

It's the birthday of the great poet Walt Whitman (1819 - 1892) tomorrow . I have set to music some of his poems, such as "Hours continuing long" as well as his poems related to animals, The Dalliance of the Eagles and A Noiseless Patient Spider, for soprano & piano. You know Vaughan Williams' great Second Symphony "A Sea Symphony" ? It's also based on his poems, obviously relating to one of his favorite themes, the sea. Ned Rorem and Oliver Knussen also did some music based on his music, as well as Leonard Bernstein in one of his songs from "Songfest". I still don't know what attracts composers to his poems ; it's just something natural, I guess ....

And also tomorrow will be the birthday of one of my favorite composer, very much alive, Jesus Rueda. He turns 46 . Exactly in 2 weeks time, I will give the world premiere of his Sonata no.2 , "Ketjak", inspired on the rhythms (and noise !) of the Ketjak dance of Bali . Jesus Rueda is one of the most admired and loved composers of Spain today, and certainly the most important composer for my instrument, the piano, coming from this country. I simply love, LOVE his music ; his Third Symphony was just premiered last month and am literally DYING to listen to it. He also has 3 string quartets, and the third is definitely a masterpiece . All of them have been recorded by my friends the Arditti Quartet ; in fact, it became historically important, since it was the last recording of the Ardittis with Rohan de Saram as their cellist. It is a double CD, where I also played with them his Piano Trio and Piano Quintet, as well as 4 of his Love Songs with the fantastic viola player of the quartet, Ralf Ehlers. I think Jesus Rueda has achieved in continuing the thread which was broken after the death of Britten and Shostakovich .

Happy Birthday to all those incurable romantics under the sign of Gemini .