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.