lunes, 15 de diciembre de 2008

From A to A (that makes us the A-team, eh?)

If one wants it, then it's done. Among my busy periods recording for the film "Romeo*Juliet" as well as rehearsing & preparing for the "Prelude" concerts for the New Year Concerts, I managed to write 4 short pieces : one choral work commissioned by ITB Choir to celebrate the Golden Anniversary of their prestigious university, and 3 songs for baritone & piano. The ITB Choral work is a festive one, based on Sapardi Djoko Damono's breathtaking & majestic sonnet (also commissioned for this event) called KITA CIPTAKAN KEMERDEKAAN (We Create Freedom). Its sketches were done on the plane from Bilbao to Jakarta and Jakarta-Surabaya-Jakarta in the last days of last month, and then it was written out completely and finished 7 days ago on Chendra's computer whose Sibelius program had gone mad. Until this minute I still haven't heard one note of that music, which will be the explanation if suddenly one or more chords would sound "avant-gardish".

The three songs for baritone & piano were done on Friday and Saturday 12th and 13th, between two concerts of mine. I wrote them for my good friend, the always F-word (I mean fabulous & fantastic) singer Joseph Kristanto "Akis" who celebrated his 39th birthday on the 15th. To those 3 songs I added 2 more older songs, one written in London during one of my stays with Chendra last spring when one day suddenly it snowed, and another piece already written for Akis one day after we rehearsed. So, this new cycle for baritone & piano is called "A untuk Akis, Alam dan Angkasa" (translated (in-)correctly it will be : A for Akis, nature and the universe). The songs are :

1. Kesetiaan Pohon (Sapardi Djoko Damono)
2. Masa Kecil di Pegunungan (Eka Budianta)
3. Salju di Musim Semi (Chendra Panatan)
4. Selokan (Sapardi Djoko Damono)
5. Berkicaulah Burungku (Eka Budianta)

I am always touched how Akis loves nature. Apart from his love and dedication to music, of course. He always thinks of his fish, and once we rehearsed at the Jakarta Conservatory and he pointed out a peculiar tree which had been there, unnoticed by me, during these years. And this is a guy who lives right in the middle of Jakarta, the most unfriendly city in the world, full of bricks, mortars ... and greedy corruptors. So, what other birthday present is more appropiate than a songcycle about nature ?
And I am so grateful to his dedication to my music ; he practically has sung, beautifully, 90% of my music for baritone ( I wish he would sing the 10% of the rest), and memorized them (no matter how strange they are) . These 5 songs is my gratitude and my celebration to his artistry and to our friendship that I highly cherish.

PS : Thanks to Akis' sister Ita for her help in its "special delivery" after lots of hassle with the printer. And another PS : just 1 day before his birthday, his fish whom I baptized under the name Nijinsky died. Requiescat in pace ...