martes, 30 de agosto de 2011

The real man's been fussy

Whatever my next opera is, it's definitely gonna be an all-male cast. And I'll write lots of falsetti! Huff ... during the creative process of Laki-Laki Sejati, those soprano voics (especially the coloratura one, the "mom") is banging in my head ... and it is LOUD AND HIGH! So I definitely miss those low, male voice who do those beautifully weird falsetto sometimes.
They say the older you get the more fussy you become. Perhaps that's true. Laki-Laki Sejati at last took longer to write than I imagined. According to my plan, the music is about 24 minutes long, so I estimated between 24-30 days to compose it.

I got back home just 10 days ago, and I just emailed the whole score to the singers yesterday. During my 16-hour plane trip home I completely finished the vocal lines, and sketched the accompaniment. But it took me a whole week to clean up all the mess, revise, write down the accompaniment and the most important thing is the finishing touch. I wonder why I am getting fussier now. When I wrote "Ibu, yang anaknya diculik itu" (The Mother whose son was kidnapped) with a kinda similar formation I remembered I wasn't like this. IBU was a bit longer (around 40 minutes, almost twice longer than Laki-Laki Sejati) but I wrote it in less than two months. True, at that time (in 2009) there weren't any distractions, and now the work has been so many times interrupted. Since June when I started writing Laki-Laki Sejati I also wrote several songs, piano pieces to be included in "Alicia's Second Piano Book", orchestrating Fons Juventatis (a 5-minute overture for piano & orchestra) AND performing it, wrote my 4-hand piece for the inauguration of the Berlin-Jakarta Festival as well as finishing "A Sicilian Diary" for 3 flutes which is not a small piece, and did a few concerts (mostly of my pieces, so I didn't have to practice a lot). Those aren't big tasks, but if one adds them up, they do take some time. And I spent almost the whole summer in Jakarta, so the traffic jam didn't help either. I can compose on a plane, but not in a car during the traffic jam.

One thing which was also rather "not my nature" is the comic side of Laki-Laki Sejati. I had to invent ways to make the funny parts funny, and those spots didn't flow easily, I tell you. But I learned a lot anyway in exploring the "funny" side in me.

By the way, the wifi aboard the airplane is a nice invention, but what I need is electricity to charge my laptop battery! I had to write lots of music on paper while I was on board, and copy and elaborate them when my feet are on the ground here back home. I can survive hours without internet, but I need more than 2 hours to compose on my laptop, so please airplane makers, would you consider some holes to plug my laptop cable?

sábado, 27 de agosto de 2011

List of works up to now


Chamber Operas :
- SATRIA, for soprano, baritone, 3 actors/dancers & 9 musicians 1 hour 10'
- IBU, YANG ANAKNYA DICULIK ITU (The Mother, whose son was kidnapped)
for soprano solo, piano, flute & percussion 40'
- LAKI-LAKI SEJATI (A Real Man) for soprano, mezzosoprano & piano 20'

Orchestra :
-FONS JUVENTATIS, an overture for piano & orchestra 5'
-Cantata no. 2 "LIBERTAS", for solo baritone, choir & chamber orchestra 28'
-STANZA SUARA, for choir, orchestra & angklung (Indonesian trad. instrs.) 7'
-A work for flute & orchestra (in progress) to be premiered by Andrea Griminelli in 2012-2013

Choir :
Cantata no. 1 "ARS AMATORIA" for soprano & baritone, children & male choir & 4 instruments 30'
Choral Fantasy for soprano solo, choir & piano 6'
Psalm 148, for SATB a cappella 4'
Jokpiniana no.1, for SATB a cappella 4'
Jokpiniana no.2, for SATB & piano 4'

- BIBIRKU BERSUJUD DI BIBIRMU, for soprano, flute (doubl. alto-fl), violin, piano 13'
- VEGA & ALTAIR, for flute, violin, cello, harp 20'

Chamber music :
- LONTANO, for string quartet (choreographic interlude from the opera "Mengapa Kau Culik Anak Kami") 5'
- REQUIESCAT, for english horn & str. qt (from Cantata no. 2 "Libertas")
- RESCUING ARIADNE, for flute & piano 6'30"
- PRELUDE AND INTERMEZZO from the opera "IBU", for flute & piano 6'
- ECHO'S WHISPER, for oboe & piano 4'
- LUST'S PASSION, for clarinet in Bb & piano 5'
- A SICILIAN DIARY, for 3 flutes 6'
- THE TRAITOR'S TORTURER TANGO (from the unfinished opera PRO PATRIA) for cello & piano 4'

Chamber music written for handicapped pianists (LH normal, RH only functioning with 2 fingers) . Can be played by normal (intermediate level) pianists

- Someone's stolen her heart (and I found it) , for viola & piano 3'
- The Sleepers, for violin & piano 4'
- SWEET SORROW, for violin & piano 3'
- Two pieces for trumpet & piano 5'
- Nothing Gold can stay (Robert Frost), for soprano & piano 2'
- Daun Jati (S. Yoga), for baritone (with falsetti) & piano 2'
- The Pirates are Coming, for 1 pianist with only 2 fingers acc. by 1 pianist (both hands)
- Eine kleine (sehr) leicht Musik, for bassoon & piano 2'


- "... and the twain shall meet ...," for piano 4 hands 5'
- SCHUMANN'S PSYCHOSIS, for 3 pianos 6 pianists 5'30"
- VIVALDI'S WINTER OF DISCONTENT, for 4 pianos (4 pianists) 6'
- 5 ETUDES for piano solo
- RAPSODIA NUSANTARA no. 1 - 7 (number still growing), virtuosic works for piano solo
(Rhapsodies based on Indonesian folksongs. Each rhapsody is based on folksongs of 1 province)
- JUST A MINUTE ! , 13 pieces for left hand alone
- 37 easy to moderately difficult pieces in "Alicia's First Piano Book"
- 32 easy to difficult pieces in "Alicia's Second Piano Book"

Vocal works (accompanied by piano otherwise indicated)

- SENYAP DALAM DERAI , 6 songs for soprano
- GEMURUHNYA MALAM, 4 songs for baritone
- CANDA EMPAT PENJURU, 4 short songs (Autumn, Winter, Spring, Summer) for baritone
- A UNTUK AKIS, ALAM DAN ANGKASA, 5 songs for baritone
- ILHAM DI PENJARA, 3 songs for high voice
- NYANYIAN MALAM, 12 songs for medium voice
- LOVE AND VARIATIONS, 8 songs for soprano & baritone duet (in English, Spanish & Indonesian)
- SAJAK 3 BAGIAN, for tenor and guitar
- FIVE FRIENDS, 5 songs for medium voice & piano (in English & Indonesian)
(the order of songs can be changed)
1. Senyap Sedang Sendirian (Clarentia Prameta). 2. Jemari Menari (Nanang Suryadi), for & about "Tris". 3. As Adam, Early in the Morning (W.Whitman), for Winson Chaivin. 4. Chrysanthemum (H. Aspahani) for Henoch & Yenny, happily ever after. 5. Meeting at Night (R. Browning) to Dody & Ida, happily ever after.
- 3 duets (soprano & baritone) from Cantata no. 1 "Ars Amatoria"

Solo instruments

- SATRIA SENDIRI, for bassoon solo (from the opera "Satria") 3'
- YOU HAD ME AT HELLO, 3 pieces for flute solo (choreographic intermezzi from the cantata "Ars Amatoria") 8'
- 2 short pieces for piccolo solo 3'
- THE 5 LOVERS OF DRUPADI, for guitar solo 5'30"
- 3 STAR SIGNS, for oboe solo (one of them is for circular breathing). each 1 - 2 mins.
- THE BIRTH OF DRUPADI , for marimba solo 4 '

lunes, 8 de agosto de 2011

It's a double gift if U are twice doubled

It's been a busy week for our foundation. After the start of Children in Harmony, last night was the amazing performance of 2 young pianists whose surnames start with a common letter (though uncommon for musicians save for Wagner and Wolff), Edith Widayani (as you know already, winner of Ananda Sukarlan Award 2010) and Lavinia "Vinny" Wibisono. You might not have heard the latter's name since she's just graduated from China Conservatory in Beijing, but I'm sure you will hear her name much more often in the future.

Musically speaking it was a heavy program last night for the public : Edith played 3 Ballades of Chopin, and Vinny played Brahms' Handel Variations. That's a treat for Jakarta's public, since the trend now is to "give what the audience wants", so to say. And honestly, it WAS quite hard to take Brahms' Variations immediately to start the program, although I can't help but admire Vinny's (mental) stamina to sustain a solid construction of this half-an-hour Romantic masterpiece. The hall (Teater Kecil, TIM) is a very difficult hall to conquer acoustically. I would suggest Vinny next time to play a short piece before tackling a big piece like that Brahms, since one did notice a bit of insecurity of playing at the first (very few) minutes. She managed to tackle the rest of this gigantic work with her solid technical ability and high musicianship, though. A short (and easy(er)) piece would make her get acquainted with the hall and the public ... as well as giving a chance for the late-comers (not so many last night, since the Jakarta traffic was surprisingly not that heavy). One needs ample experience and maturity to start a concert with a big piece such as the Brahms. But still, hats-off to the promising young talent.

Experience and maturity. Those two words can indeed by applied to Edith Widayani's playing. One can notice how she communicated with the public right from the start. Her interpretation wasn't anymore that kinda "do-what-your-teacher-tells-you" thing; on the contrary, Edith has conveyed an interpretation which was a quite adventurous one. Her awareness to the silences, as the canvas where she paints the music on, is admirable and rare to the Indonesian musicians (living abroad must have helped in this case. Indonesian musicians go too often to the malls, where silences --and even good music-- are forbidden to exist). Highly attractive is her sensitivity to colours too, which she managed to explore on that poor Steinway who starts to manifest her sufferings from her unrequited love to the management of the concert hall.

On the fun 'n funky side, both Edith & Lavinia entertained the public with some 4-hand pieces of Leroy Anderson (including his famous Typewriter, which might not be understood anymore by the young generation who now type on the touch screens of iPad. I suggest Twitter would add that "ding" sound when we reach 132 characters, to warn that there are only 8 charachters left) and 3 pieces of cakes which I did on Sundays with my daughter to distract her from disturbing her mom making those namesake cakes (and to compete with her mom to taste who's cake is more delicious). I am happy with the audience too, a very civilized one who seemed to really enjoyed the concert and didn't applaud (nor tweet) when there is silence. I have seen men at the emergency alert when their Blackberry beeps and women abandon their facials at the hint of a ringtone. At this double double-U concert we were free from the demands of rapid response.

Summer holiday is almost over, it was nice to listen Wibisono and Widayani, two of the best Indonesian pianists at the moment living abroad. We do miss concerts of our musicians who had holidays in their homecountry this summer, like the soprano Bernadeta Astari, tenor Ivan Yohan, baritone Dody Soetanto, pianists Henoch Kristianto and Ananda Sukarlan Award 2008 winner Inge Buniardi. And of course the recently-married Stephanie with her duo partner (or did the love come before?) Edward Neeman. Quantitywise we have (more than) enough classical music concerts in Jakarta but not qualitywise, so hopefully those musicians I mentioned --and highly admire-- would present us something next time when they are in town.

viernes, 5 de agosto de 2011

Children in Harmony, Harmony in Children

When you give, it will be given back multiplied to you. I think the Bible said that and it's perhaps the most repeated phrase in history, and today I proved it (again). Today was the first day of our foundation's project, CHARM (Children in Harmony). CHARM was the original idea of our ambassador, Mesty Ariotedjo, and thanks to the solid team of YMSI (Yayasan Musik Sastra Indonesia or Indonesian Classical Music Foundation) it can now be realized, after a few months of discussion, hard work ...and fund-raising. Certainly, CHARM can also be used to describe Mesty, who is just graduated from her medical studies at Universitas Indonesia, as well as a harpist... and die-hard classical music lover. There are many beautiful women on this planet, but not half of them have the charm, outside and inside, of Mesty.

When I said today was the first day, I mean the first day that the children had their lessons. CHARM's idea is to give musical education (starting with playing a musical instrument) to children under 11 coming from underpriviliged families. Since this is purely YMSI's project, we are not receiving any cent, or even just false promises, from the government or political parties. Therefore we start this in a quite small scale, working with the children around our foundation's office at the Ananda Sukarlan Center, at the area of Kebayoran, Jakarta.

It was pure happiness what happened today. Watching the glow in the eyes of the children, playing or even holding an instrument (we start with the violin) that only appeared in their dreams, and now they can even bring it home. We lend them the instruments, and after 6 months there will be a small "exam" that will determine if that particular child should continue his education and therefore can still keep the instrument with them. Today Mesty came with one of our violin teachers, Ali Hanapiyah and what occured perhaps could be described as heaven on earth: pure happiness of all parts: the teachers, the children and their parents who witnessed it. Education costs money, I know, but so does ignorance. So it's better to educate than let people be ignorant. Even if it's for free. By educating, we learn so much.

miércoles, 3 de agosto de 2011

The flute, all the flute and nothing but the flute

After a highly exciting concert (+discussions +lunch +gossipping) of JAKFlute (the Jakarta Flute Community whose members are always growing) at my place, the Ananda Sukarlan Center last Sunday July 31st, my sheet music with all my chamber & solo works involving the flute is now officially published. It was launched during that concert last Sunday. Its title is "Narcissus Dying and other works for flute(s)".
It took me several days to decide on the cover. The most natural is of course using Caravaggio's painting of Narcissus as it was the painting that helped me shape the piece, but somehow I wasn't convinced to use it as the cover. At last I cropped the painting "Echo and Narcissus" of John William Waterhouse, took only the Narcissus part as its cover.

All my flute music are connected with someone (mostly flutists), except "Rescuing Ariadne" which really just popped up from the blue. Well, Titian's painting was the trigger, but I didn't specifically write it for someone. There are 8 titles in that book:

-Narcissus Dying (now becoming my most popular work for flute)
-Rescuing Ariadne
-My recently premiered "The Sicilian Diary" for 3 flutes
-You Had Me at Hello (3 movements for flute solo, for Chendra Panatan's choreography)
-Vega & Altair's Love Song (for flute & harp)
-2 pieces for piccolo solo, for Rudy & Liz's 2 boys
-Prelude & Intermezzo from my opera "Ibu yang anaknya diculik itu", which is original written for flute & piano. Therefore this is not an arrangement
-Choreographic prelude to "Bibirku Bersujud di bibirmu". Now this title is missing on the score, but written down in the index of the book. This piece is a prelude (but can be performed separately) from my piece for soprano & piano based on the highly moving poem of Hasan Aspahani.

Aaaand ... I will use this opportunity to thank my flutty friends: Liz Ashford, Wendela van Swol, Roberto Alvarez, Mesty Ariotedjo who is also the ambassador of our dear Indonesian Classical Music Foundation (YMSI), founders of JakFlute Metta F.Ariono & Marini Marnoto, my new flutty friend Andika Candra and many more flutists who have played my music. I learned a lot from listening to you all playing it, and glad that you include my music in your repertoire. Hope my music can enrich the tutti flutty world!