miércoles, 15 de abril de 2009

Rectifying Rossini's Record

Whew ! At last I finished my "pocket opera", IBU, a few days ago. Just sent the score to the musicians last nite. Now I gotta immediately start composing my second cantata, LIBERTAS.

I've broken my own record of the shortest time period in composing IBU. I did sketch its formal, harmonic & rhythmic structures last year right after I received the text of the monologue from Seno Gumira Ajidarma himself, but practically I started writing its actual notes on the plane carrying me back to Spain on the 10th of March this year. Then there was a one-week "black-out" period, plus some small travellings until at last I wrote its last note on the 11th of April. So, about 4 weeks of intense composing IBU. In between, some notes and sketches of LIBERTAS had also been done, even a number has been completed (I intended it to have 9 numbers, each based on a poem by a.o. Walt Whitman, Hasan Aspahani, Sapardi Djoko Damono, Ilham Malayu, WS Rendra).

Not that I wanted to break Rossini's record being the world's fastest scribbler ; I did it because of the scheduled World Premiere which will be on the 7th of June ! It will be programmed for the Jakarta Opera's Festival at the World Theatre of the British International School. And Aning Katamsi, the one and only singer of the opera, would certainly like to have it as early as possible. If I were her, I'd kill the composer for doing this to her ...

Now to LIBERTAS. My second cantata (my first was Ars Amatoria, which I will conduct again right 1 week before the premiere of IBU in Jakarta) will have approximately the same duration of IBU : a bit more than half an hour, but it will demand bigger forces : a baritone solo, a mixed choir (Joseph Kristanto will be the soloist together with the ITB Choir conducted by Indra Listiyanto) accompanied by 8 instruments. Commissioned by Bimasena, it is scheduled to be premiered in August this year for an audience which will include the president of Indonesia and some ministers.

But gimme a break ! Another big piece to write ? No way. I wanna have some days of "relax composing" as I always say, which means writing something completely different and unburdened (does that word exist? Anyway, I wanna say no deadlines, no commissions). I have started doodling on a new Rapsodia Nusantara no. 4 this morning. Am excited about it for 2 things : 1. It will be in variation form, a form which I never had explored & exploited thoroughly or explicitly. I will just write 1 variation a day, and put them in order after I decided that they should be enough (let's see .. perhaps 7 or 8 variations ?). 2. I have promised my friend Henoch Kristianto to dedicate it to him. He is a fine & brilliant pianist whose playing I admire so much (he studied & graduated in the US, but hey .. nobody's perfect). In fact, it was his playing of the Saint Saens 6th Etude which inspired me this morning to write a "light" variation. My Rapsodia won't sound like Saint-Saens, but sometimes my secret love to a certain composer come to the surface ...

By the way, d'you have something to do next weekend (24th of April) ? If not, you might like to have a date with your loved one to go to the cinema (if you live in Indonesia) and watch Romeo & Juliet. You won't regret it. I don't say it because I wrote the music for that film, I just think it's a very fresh & original look at the greatest love story of all time.