ITB (the commissioner of my last choir piece, see my entry below) has asked me for more details of the work I just made for them. All I can say is that certainly it couldn't have existed without my fascination for cubism, which once in a while "appeared" in my works. What I did was, perhaps, translating the visual creative process of Picasso to music, therefore changing the concept "space" into "time". Living in Spain, I can't help admiring Picasso every day !
In "Jokpiniana", the way I use the motifs is by experimenting with its distortion, just what Picasso did with, e.g., Demoiselles d'Avignon, representing apparently solid objects as radically fragmented. This innovative approach broke down the components of the musical elements (originated from the poetic elements of Joko Pinurbo) into a number of individual facets, presenting several different aspects of one object (it could be a melody, or harmonic progression, or rhythmic pattern) from a variety of angles, simultaneously. I also juxtapose different, most of the time contrasting, moods (again, originating from several poems of contrasting moods) back to back with each other. What I want to repeat again and again, especially to those reporters and critics who always misunderstand my way of creative thinking, is that I am not just reading the poems word by word and make a melody out of it. I concentrate on the mood of the poem as a whole. Once I get the music, the words (or phrases) become (a little bit) less important. Nevertheless, I never use a phonetic element outside the poem : for example, the words "dang" and "dut" do exist IN the poem itself ! I just take it out and establish it as an independent element, treating it purely as sound and not as a word that has a meaning. I always consider a great poet as a great painter : they know how to choose the exact words for the "paint" as a material to create their picture. So, don't get me wrong : individual words are of primary importance for me in the beginning of the creative process, but they become secondary in the RESULT of the musical work. A great painting is not made with only primary colours, right ? Its greatness lies in how the painter mixes the colours, and how the result could express what he would like to communicate with the observer.
As I mentioned in the subtitle, Jokpiniana is an etude. The "real" manifestation of this technique I use in the opera I am writing now. Its duration is 70 minutes (plus break between the two acts), and I must say that this is an exciting experiment (whether it works or not, it's not really exciting ; it's terrifying for me ! That's why I keep on taking breaks from its composition, due to self-doubts, and write other short works). Its results have worked before in my pieces, so I hope it works again now !