jueves, 25 de junio de 2009

When the black turned white (RIP Michael Jackson)

This morning, woken up and chased by the deadline of my piece for percussion and piano to be performed at the Meloritmos Festival in 3 weeks time, I am deeply saddened by the news of the passing away of my idol, Michael Jackson. He has certainly done to the 20th century world of music what Gustav Mahler did for the 19th century. Yeah, they are 2 different genres of music, but who is more influential to the music world in the fin-de-siecle period? How many composers (I mean "classical" ones) have been influenced by MJ ? I remembered talking passionately about MJ's music with 2 great figures, the late Sir Michael Tippett and Louis Andriessen (both of whose music have also influenced mine and my way of thinking). If you hear the "rap music" section in Tippett's opera NEW YEAR, well that was thanks to MJ. And I made my own version of rap music in my opera IBU--yang anaknya diculik itu, also thanks to MJ, in particular his Smooth Criminal. Two different versions, two different interpretations. Just two. I imagine there might be another ..10? 100? That is, I guess, what Stravinsky called "Music about music". And that proves just how rich MJ's music is and how he performed them, with his particular voice, body movements and style.
I can't help thinking about who, in my opinion, is the greatest figure of music in the second half of the 20th century. I won't agree if it were the Beatles, since their music is just "nice" and "beautiful" (which are 2 important elements as well!), but I doubt in the strength of the impact in the artistic world. You know what I mean, this posh circle of operas and contemporary classical music. If Mahler and Britten and especially Stravinsky were still alive, they won't be that immune from the strong influence of MJ, I bet you.
MJ's music has boldly gone where no man has gone before. RIP, Michael Jackson. I will always love you. And your music.

lunes, 22 de junio de 2009


It's been exactly 1 month since I last blogged. Many things have happened, which in normal circumstances should have made me happy, but am still having doubts about those changes in my music. I even have doubts in doing something so easy, such as "cutting and pasting" my music to make my Dance Remix no.1, to be performed in Meloritmos Festival in Palencia, next July. That involves "revisiting" my old pieces, and though the task is just reworking them for a new instrumentation, I can't help doubting my previous works.

I am this kind of composer which one normally can call "prolific", and many times I do set aside the issue of "repeating oneself", since I see that all composers of the past did repeat themselves anyway. And all this change in my music is not my intention. It just happened. Just like when you reach puberty, you know what I mean ?

Anyway, am totally immersed in Pramoedya Ananta Toer's "Mangir" these days. I can identify my musical language with his "colour", somehow. Can't help admiring him more and more.

Well, I AM repeating myself about "change". What a bore, eh? I guess this is my speciality, trying to say something new with the same old words.

So here I am, in the middle way, having had twenty years—
Twenty years largely wasted, the years of l'entre deux guerres
Trying to use words, and every attempt
Is a wholly new start, and a different kind of failure
Because one has only learnt to get the better of words
For the thing one no longer has to say, or the way in which
One is no longer disposed to say it. And so each venture
Is a new beginning, a raid on the inarticulate
With shabby equipment always deteriorating
In the general mess of imprecision of feeling,
Undisciplined squads of emotion. (TS Eliot, Four Quartets)

Now, just change "words" into "notes" and you'll know what I am going through ...