viernes, 29 de octubre de 2010

Composing or retweeting? Whazza diff anyway?

If Bach were still alive today I am sure he'd use the Blackberry, not only to have a chat with Georg Friedrich Handel in London but also to squeeze inspiration out of it. Of course he'd also have less children (Bach still holds the record of the composer with the most children : 22, from 2 wives, although prolifically --I mean in musical production-- Telemann still holds the record according to Guinness book of records. What Guinness couldn't measure is of course the quality, not quantity. For me, Bach still holds the record for quality).

You have the whole world in your hands, literally, if you have Blackberry. Including that apparently time-wasting social network called Twitter. At Twitter, one can write for a maximum of 140 characters. And the art of literature has succumbed to it, like what happens with one of my favorite poet, M. Aan Mansyur. He has written "Twitter poems", which in fact not far from writing haiku. I am a keen follower of his twitter poems, they have a special flavour since it needs a particular sharpness to touch and move you in less than 140 characters. And needless to say, he achieved in making exquisite poems, each complete in itself in his tweets....
... which challenged me to do something with them. I have done the same with the haiku of another poet friend of mine, Abang Edwin, in my piece "Bangwin's Haiku", for soprano, clarinet and cello. It was done for the Dutch Trio "To Be Sung" (talking about peculiar combination of instruments!). So, I just finished "Retweeting @aanmansyur", a 4-minute piece for medium voice & piano. I admit, I do feel more at home making music from Aan Mansyur's twitter poems, since unlike haiku, they have more free forms.

Limitation is always a source of inspiration for me. It has been for other composers too. Stravinsky's Serenade had 4 movements, each of a duration designed so that they would fill one side of a 10-inch record. And of course we are always commissioned with the limitations as conditions : the (sometimes strange) combination of instruments, its duration, its background and in case of film, choreography or theatre we are limited in doing practically everything. In limitation I find freedom.

I am still new to the twitter world, just a few months ago that I start to join it. Am sure there will be more inspirations I can squeeze from it. If you wanna follow me and tweet me, my twitter address is