miércoles, 19 de diciembre de 2007

Fauzi Bowo's gift to his wife : help those with AIDS

Last Sunday the 16th, the Singaporean Ambassador’s wife and one of the most charming and wonderful person I have met, Mrs. Gouri Mirpuri held a fund-raising concert for the AIDS Foundation by inviting me to play in her beautifully decorated residence in Central Jakarta (thanks to the US Ambassador for lending us his huge Christmas tree !). I then invited my two favourite singers to perform with me : the soprano Binu D. Sukaman and the tenor Farman Purnama. They sang my songs, and the whole thing reached climax when they sang my duet from Ars Amatoria, “Dalam Doaku” .
The concert was attended by the crème de la crème of Jakarta, among others Indonesia's former president Megawati Sukarnoputri, Deputy Governor of the central bank Dr. Miranda Goeltom, Indonesia’s top fashion designer Harry Darsono and Jakarta’s new governor, Mr. Fauzi Bowo. Two days later, Mr. Bowo contacted us telling his interest to buy and dedicate Dalam Doaku to his wife. Both Mrs. Mirpuri and me indeed have auctioned that piece in the concert to raise more money to be donated. Mr. Fauzi Bowo offered a really generous sum of money out of his own pocket, much higher than the price that was orientated by us during the concert. Now, in the published score of Dalam Doaku these words will be written above the title : a gift to Mrs. Sri Hartati Fauzi Bowo from Mr. Fauzi Bowo, the new governor of Jakarta.
That song, together with 24 other songs of mine based on poems by Indonesian writers, will be published on January 1st. The launching will be, obviously, during the Jakarta New Year Concert.
If you wanna listen to Dalam Doaku, just check out http://www.youtube.com/ and search for Ananda Sukarlan Dalam Doaku. Or, just come to the Jakarta New Year Concert where Ars Amatoria will receive its world premiere (Graha Bhakti Budaya, TIM, on the first day of 2008 at 4 p.m) !

jueves, 6 de diciembre de 2007

My "AIDS song"

Today I met with Farman Purnama, my favorite Indonesian tenor, a beautiful man with a beautiful voice (you can check the truth of this statement in his website http://www.farmanpurnama.com/ ) . We are going to perform my new song, Dalam Sakit (In Sickness), for the Fundraising concert for the AIDS Foundation organized by the Singaporian Ambassador for Indonesia at his place Singapore House on the 16th of this month. Dalam Sakit was commissioned by a philanthropist whose name prefers to remain unknown. He has commissioned some other composers from other countries for the AIDS Foundation, as a tribute for someone he loved who died of AIDS. I dedicate Dalam Sakit to all those who have died of AIDS . Its text is from a deeply moving poem by Sapardi Djoko Damono.
This is in fact my first song written expressively for tenor voice. All my previous songs for male voice were written for baritone. Farman has the kind of voice which I like, not that Italian heavy stuff, but closer to …hmm… perhaps Peter Pears who is another favorite singer of mine. I mean, have you heard the recording of Pears singing Britten’s Serenade ? Its beauty could break all the toughest hearts on earth (ok, perhaps not George Bush’s, I wonder if he's got one to be broken ? ...but he’s got no brains either).
Dalam Sakit will exist in two different versions : for tenor and piano, and for tenor and children’s & male choir as part of my cantata ARS AMATORIA which will be premiered in the New Year’s Concert at Graha Bhakti Budaya, TIM Jakarta, on the 1st of January 2008. It should not be transposed to another kind of voice . After I heard Farman singing it, I am convinced that this is the final version. His wonderful high voice is exactly what I wanted to express in this song.
This song now, even before its premiere on the 16th, has already a nickname : Ananda's Aids song.

lunes, 3 de diciembre de 2007

Betty and the snakes

Too many things happening lately. The most important was perhaps my first visit to Brisbane, to the Queensland Conservatory of Music. I was invited as a speaker on the panel for the conference about music and its relation to government subsidies and the audience. A classic theme, so to say !
I also gave a solo piano concert there on the 23rd of November , with programs of Australian & Spanish composers : Peter Sculthorpe, Elena Kats Chernin, Betty Beath, Barry Conyngham, Vincent Plush, David del Puerto, Jesus Rueda and Polo Vallejo. The most memorable event is perhaps Betty Beath’s invitation to her beautiful & rustic house at the bank of the river the day after the concert (which also happened to be a historical day for Australia, since the general elections were held and the Labour party won ! Hallelujah ! So, down with the Liberal party after like … what, 20 years or so ?). We had a very nice breakfast in their backgarden before they went to the polls in the afternoon. She lives there with her husband, David Cox, who is an illustrator of children’s books and gave me several books for my daughter. Apparently I am the third Indonesian who visited their house ; the previous two were, (oh, such a small world !) the poets Goenawan Mohamad and Sapardi Djoko Damono ! Betty has set some poems of Goenawan Mohamad to music. She is one of Australia’s prominent composers of today, and I am a huge fan of her music, and have played them in many of my concerts in Europe.

They are beautiful people and such a charming couple, and they love Indonesia. She has written a piece which I played in the concert the previous day, called “Merindu Bali”. Their house is so full of Indonesian things, and they even built a bamboo fence surrounding their house. I felt very much at home there, like in a village in Central Java, you know.
The really scary thing about her house is that it is in the middle of the route for the snakes when they go to the river to have their morning bath. So they receive visits of those beautiful (yikes !) creatures almost every day, and sometimes they even use their bathroom ! It's great to be friendly with nature, but aaaarrghh... imagine entering your bathroom and finding a goddamn SNAKE lying around there !!!