domingo, 25 de mayo de 2008

Rainy Saturday with apple pie

What do one do in a rainy Saturday ? Of course, with youtube, DVDs, satellite TVs etc. that's a stupid question. Anyway, we were planning yesterday to go out for lunch at the beach, but obviously it had to be cancelled. So, Raquel my wife stayed and baked an apple pie. Just like any other conservative family (and then I am against the Republicans !), we stayed at home. Meanwhile Alicia Pirena, my daughter, asked me to teach her how to write music, so with nothing else to do we both did a short one, a bit more than 1-minute long. It is for 4-hands, and since the recipe of "Apfelstrudel" was there in the kitchen, she decided to call it .. well, Apfelstrudel.

Oh, by the way, about the Haiku which was "commissioned" by Alicia. I did 12 of them and decided that that's it. So, there are 12 Haiku for Alicia, ranging from 3 to 12 bars each. From very easy to moderately difficult. Maybe I'd do the same with Apfelstrudel ; I'll write a series of works for 4-hands, with 2 hands easier than the other ones. No commissions this time, not even 1 euro ! Any technical suggestions welcome, fellow pianists and piano teachers.

sábado, 3 de mayo de 2008

My first opera : "Mengapa Kau Culik Anak Kami?" (Why did you kidnap our son?)

Now that I almost (just a few bars left to be orchestrated !) finish the writing of my first opera (it will be a long time before I will write my second ; I am totally exhausted and running out of notes!) , I dare to share with you more details about it. I wrote a bit about it last January, in relation to the death of our former dictator/president Suharto if you want to read more stuff.

It is based on a play by Seno Gumira Ajidarma which was done already (and had a huge success) in 2001 in Jakarta. The setting is in a living room of a married couple whose son, Satria, had been lost for a year, most presumably kidnapped during the Suharto dictatorship. Satria was a student and an activist, and it is unknown whether he is still alive or dead. For the world premiere, the father will be played by Joseph Kristanto (baritone) and the mother Aning Katamsi (soprano). Satria will come and go as both a flashback and in an imaginary situation in a torture chamber, being interrogated. Satria's role will be played by Chendra Panatan, who will also choreograph and direct the whole opera. Oh, and don't worry, he's not going to sing ! He will, however, undergo all the violent tortures (yes, it will be quite realistic, so don't bring under-age children to the opera) by two additional dancers.

In addition to the fantastic artists above, Tommy Prabowo will conduct an ensemble of 9 musicians which include : a string quartet, a woodwind trio, a keyboard and one percussionist. This opera is the result of a commission by the Indonesian Opera Society, and the world premiere will take place at Usmar Ismail Hall on a date that is easy to remember : 8 - 8 - 08, at 8 pm. That is the eighth of August this year. There will be another performance the day after.

Apart from the arias, there are some highlights from the opera that could be performed as separate numbers in the future. Those include a 4-minute string quartet when Satria is being interrogated and reaching out in futile to his parents, and a 2,5-minute bassoon solo piece "Satria Sendiri" (Satria alone) where Satria was alone in jail, frightened, blindfolded, but with a spirit that has not been broken.