lunes, 7 de enero de 2008

Love and Variations

Just wrote the last note of "Kekasihku", a song based on Joko Pinurbo's poem, and that is the last note I wrote for "Love and Variations". This is a multi-lingual song-cycle (or perhaps a mini-cantata, if you like) based on 8 poems from 5 countries (Spain, Mexico, the USA, the UK and Indonesia) and from 3 centuries (the newest is Laksmi Pamuntjak's, written in 2001, and Joko Pinurbo's in 2003) . I've been promising to write about it for a few weeks, so here it is.

This is a piece commissioned by the American singers Kathryn Mueller (soprano), Nathan Krueger (baritone) and the Indonesian pianist Aryo Wicaksono. They all live in Arizona and are going to give the World Premiere of the whole cycle on the 25th of April this year, which will be the first of a series of performances throughout the US of this piece. Each of them sent me recordings of their previous performances which, I must say, are excellent, so I did think a lot of their characteristics while composing these songs. This is a piece I enjoyed very much in composing, since they are basically not strenuous to write (I wrote the songs one by one between breaks of concerts or composing other big works), and I was given freedom to choose whatever poems I like and suited my musical language. The first song was written already in October last year, and as I said, I finished the last song a few minutes ago. "Kekasihku" is a very light-hearted and witty song, and who else but Joko Pinurbo could capture that ironic yet profound atmosphere, inexplicable by words.

Each song can be performed separately, but if one wants to perform them as a whole, this is the order I would very much prefer :

1. Snowflakes (Henry W. Longfellow) -- ouch, the soprano starts by hitting a high note!
2. Glass Conservatory (Laksmi Pamuntjak)
3. Amor Eterno (Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer, in Spanish. This is dedicated to my good friends Leticia Martin & Ruben Rodriguez for their wedding present last November)
4. Hours Continuing Long, Sore and Heavy-Hearted (Walt Whitman) -- soprano and piano, and could be sung by a tenor as well
5. Kukirimkan Padamu (Sapardi Djoko Damono, in Indonesian) -- baritone solo, but couldn't be sung by a female voice !
6. So we'll go no more a-roving (Lord Byron)
7. Kekasihku (Joko Pinurbo, in Indonesian)
8. Si tu me dices ¡Ven! (Amado Nervo, in Spanish)