I stayed awake until 5 a.m this morning, finishing, revising and copying my First Rapsodia Nusantara—the first of a collection of Lisztian rhapsodies based on Indonesian folk tunes. In fact the idea of these rhapsodies came from conductor/composer/pianist Yazeed Djamin (1951-2001), with whom I often spoke about the identity of Indonesian classical music in general. The first piece will be premiered by myself in the concert to celebrate the newly elected governor of Jakarta, Fauzi Bowo who is a classical music lover and the dedicatee of the piece. It will also be the obligatory piece for the contestants of the Ananda Sukarlan Award, a piano competition founded by Mrs. Pia Alisjahbana (founder of Femina Group) and Mr. Dedi Panigoro (one of the founders and directors of the petroleum company MEDCO Energi). Besides this piece, I will also require the contestants to play another piece by another Indonesian composer, besides the standard repertory. Rapsodia Nusantara no. 1 is based on two folk tunes from Jakarta, “Kicir-Kicir” and “Jali-Jali.” It is also influenced by the inversion and retrograde techniques of Schoenberg, as well as Salvador Dali’s idea of the transformation of two elements. Like the Liszt rhapsodies, Rapsodia Nusantara (and those that follow) is meant to end a recital with virtuosity and flash. But for this one in particular I concentrate more in the different colours of the piano sounds, although certainly the piece doesn't lack virtuosity. I only enjoy listening to musicians who has a wide palette of sound colours, and that is what I would like to hear from the participants of the AS Award .
The Ananda Sukarlan Award for young pianists (under 26), by the way, will be held in Jakarta on the 24th- 27th of July 2008.