domingo, 28 de noviembre de 2010

Within me, Without me

(This is a continuation of previous entry, "Thank you for the music").

I must admit I regret that my project ANANDASUKARLAN@MUSICASA with the 27 vocalists terminated last week. The final concert was really marvellous, with those musicians putting all their passion in singing. But it also marked our last day of having fun, learning from each other and from my part a process of rejuvenation, working with the young & passionate vocalists.

Next week is the turn of the students and teaching staff of the Music Faculty of the Pelita Harapan University, one of the most prominent private universities in Indonesia. Thanks to its previous Dean of Music Faculty, Johannes Nugroho (a wonderful pianist & composer himself) who invited me, I will coach them in the interpretations of my music. Again, I won't talk about executional techniques since as with the Musicasa vocalists I am not able to play many of the instruments. I know how they work, what kind of sound I heard in my head, but not how to produce sounds with the instruments.

However, from the interpretational side it could be dangerous to "give away" a lot of my interpretational side to the musicians. After working with 27 vocalists last week (I call them "the 27"), I am even more convinced that the composer is the most narrow-minded person in the interpretation of his own piece. We composers of the particular piece only know and see from one side, while musicians (the good ones, naturally) see many possibilities of its interpretations. I always experience it when I am interpreting other composers' music. With the passing of time, the composer starts to see the piece clearer and more from a distance, objectively. It is always interesting to hear interpretations of my music without my involvement in preparing the performance, like the case of the fantastic performance by the tenor Samuel Tandei & pianist Ruthanne Fulton recently in Louisville, giving the world premiere of my 3 songs for tenor, "3S dalam Cinta". Just listen to it here : . A few details in his performance were not as I imagined it to sound, but since he expresses what he wants to communicate very well and convincingly, I really don't mind. It's still a poignant and touching performance, not mentioning his marvellous singing technique in singing my not-easy-at-all songs. A more "authentic" performance of those songs would be the ones we did at the Anandasukarlan@Musicasa concert since the tenors I accompanied (Justinus Budi Santoso & Ivan Jonathan from Musicasa) worked very closely with me, but then only time (not the composer) will tell, and judge, which performance will claim as the better one. And in fact, they don't have to be judged, both performances --and hopefully further performances by different tenors-- are artistically valid. There is no reason why Sam Tandei's performance couldn't be called "authentic". They all possess high musicianship anyway.

So, as much as I have learned from the 27, I am very much looking forward to the UPH project next week. Especially because they are, again, young people full of passion. And yeah, although now all of them are my instrumental music, they are not far from my favorite theme: sorrow, loneliness and (unrequited) love. Without words, they can even be better expressed. And understood.

The final concert of Universitas Pelita Harapan Conservatory of Music presents the music of Ananda Sukarlan will be held at Gedung Kesenian Jakarta, December 11, 2010 at 8 p.m . More info & tickets through Chendra at 0818 891038 or