viernes, 25 de junio de 2010

What is in a name?

I always like those weird short pieces by the American composer Virgil Thomson called "Portraits". The creative process of those pieces (hundreds of them) was always that the "model" sits in front of the composer, while he "painted" them, so it was exactly like the creative process of a painter.

Now I've never been musically inspired by the physical look of anyone, no matter how stunning. But I do like to play around with something that one has in him/her. And of course I like that Schumannesque game of putting initials of people's names as motifs of his work.

That's the background of my two short pieces, "To Adam G" and "Whooosh!" which will be included in my book, "Alicia's Second Piano Book", as well as the most recent "Finnley's Fanfare" for solo piccolo. This time, other people, who I should say friends, "helped" me write the music. "To Adam G" was written for the Hungarian pianist Adam Gyorgy as a gratitude for his invitation to the winners of Ananda Sukarlan Award to come to his summer masterclasses in Hungary last year. It is based on a motif built on his name : A.D.A.M(i) G. And "Whooosh!" (yeah, the music does sound like that!) was for Inge Buniardi, a very talented young Indonesian pianist now living in Amsterdam. It's based on her initials : A(nastasia) MI (Melania Inge, which should have been Inge Melania) B(uniardi).

2 days ago I received the good news that my good friends Rudy & Liz had a new baby boy, Finnley. Elizabeth Ashford is a flutist and has practically played all my music involving that instrument, and she's had this futile attempt in encouraging me to write for the instrument that I hate the most : the piccolo. But Rudy's email, curiously enough, gave me the idea of writing "Finnley's Fanfare", and unfortunately the initials of the piece's title is "FF", which is the perfect dynamics of a piccolo piece. I was totally stressed with my yet unfinished opera AND the rehearsal of our performance for these days to celebrate the 5th year anniversary of Chendra Panatan and me working together. Luckily I now have this tiny Lenovo laptop --am still fascinated by its really small size and how my operas and other works can fit inside it--, so in bed at 1 a.m after the exhausting rehearsal the whole day I relaxed myself writing the piccolo (and it's also tiny!) piece. I wonder why I always compose much more fluently lying down; is it because my brain receives more blood and therefore more oxygen? Anyway, hope that the number of pieces based on friends' initials will grow, since it's really fun to compose like that. It's like playing sudoku or making anagrams, you know what I mean?