Next week, a new CD of my works for voice(s) is gonna be released. I am so happy and honoured to have the soprano Bernadeta Astari "Deta" and the baritone Joseph Kristanto "Akis" record my vocal works. Apart from the fact that they are the two singers who have specialized in almost all my music involving the human voice and have worked with me intensely in performing them, they are magnificent musicians with impeccable techical abilities, sensitive artistry and profound musical understanding.
My interest in the human voice dated back in the 1980s when I heard Benjamin Britten's Serenade for tenor, horn and strings during my student years. That was the first vocal work that has made me weep, literally weep, during its performance. Since then, I started my collection of all Peter Pears' recording of Britten's whole ouvres, so my first vocal works were just bad copies of Britten and justly enough they all ended up in my dustbin. In the 1990s, it was the poetry of Walt Whitman, William Blake and Longfellow that have helped me find my own path. Still, I was feeling uneasy for not being able to feel at home in setting words of my own language. Ilham Malayu's poems during his stay in Bangkok prison were the first poems in Indonesian that I set to music, but it wasn't until very recently that I had a huge crush with the poetry of Sapardi Djoko Damono. And then came along other great Indonesian poets : Goenawan Mohamad, Eka Budianta, Hasan Aspahani, Nirwan Dewanto, Ook Nugroho and so on. Ah, and that fascinating miniaturist lady, Medy Loekito. And with my inspirational singer friends around, my Indonesian songs just came along and took shape naturally. I feel that my best music ("best" is according to my, and only mine, not other people's standard) are written inspired by people or their artistry.
I have a dream (this is not because of Obama reminding the famous phrase of MLK), that one day Indonesia will have virtuosi of all instruments, so that they would and could inspire me to write concertos for each of them : a violin concerto, clarinet concerto, up to ... bassoon concerto, harp concerto, tuba concerto and --why not?-- a percussion concerto. And yeah, my next Concerto for piano and orchestra should not be written for myself. There are many, many highly talented young Indonesian pianists around. They will prevail. And very soon.