lunes, 30 de enero de 2012

Six Etudes are published for now, and more coming, hopefully

Next month my book of 6 Etudes will be published, and they will also be available through the iPad app. (you can search "Ananda Sukarlan" at the App Store).

My 6 Etudes are my excursions --or perhaps trying to find home?-- to the piano in my compositional adventures. One might be surprised to know that the piano is not my favorite instrument for which I compose. It is the human voice. Therefore it explains the numerous works I wrote for that beautiful "instrument" and the few quantity of (substantial) works for piano solo. By writing these Etudes I can experiment again what we have learned from the great masters of the past (Chopin and Liszt mostly, but also Debussy, Rachmaninov etc) and how my musical language can fit with the pianistic techniques that they have invented and developed. Melodies play an important role in my piano music, since I always try, perhaps in vain, to make the piano "sing" like human voice. Here are some of my notes about some etudes of mine. I guess the music speaks for itself, therefore I wrote only the background of 3 of them. These are just for those who are curious about their creative process; I don't think they would help much for their interpretation. As I always say, the composer is the person who understands his music the least, since he can only view it from one point of view. The great interpreters are those who find other points of views and could decide how it should be performed. And for their technical difficulties, there is only one way to surpass it: PRACTICE!

The first etude is inspired by 2 things: 1. The poem by Indonesia's most prominent poet, Sapardi Djoko Damono, especially the phrase "Can you listen to the great silence that descends with the drops of the rain", and therefore the title of the Etude. 2. Pianistically it is modelled on Liszt concert etude "Waldesrauschen" with one substantial difference: the "accompaniment" figure changes in its rhythms everytime it changes figurations, therefore it never "falls down" together with the melody which is built on simple rhythms. It thus creates a strange polyrhythm between the melody and accompaniment and the listener will perceive, unlike Liszt's, two things happening independently.

About the last etude, "Ritual Dance" from my opera MENDADAK KAYA which I just finished, I paste here my email a few days ago to the dedicatee of the piece, Japanese pianist Kazuha Nakahara.

Hi Kaz!

After about one year of promise (or more? Ah, it was after your performance of my other Etudes, right? That was 2010, if I am not mistaken) here is "your" Etude. I wrote half of it many months ago but then got stuck (and had to do something else which I forgot what), and when I wrote my last opera I took it and used the whole material for the opera!

It is a bit more than one and a half minutes, and I believe the last 30 seconds or so are quite (or terribly) difficult. Very sorry about that, hehe... but that's what etudes are for, right? Anyway, I hope this (as my other etudes) serves for technical education (esp. in polyrhythms) as well as concert pieces.

Now, I will have to ask your permission to give the world premiere of this. I am performing my Etudes together with Ligeti's (book I & II) on February 12th in Galicia, and since I thought this is just the right opportunity to premiere it, I'd do it. And then there are already several performances, next time will be Rotterdam (in the hall of the conservatory) in April, again my Etudes will be paired with the Ligetis.

The score of my 6 Etudes will also be released next month, as well as being available to be bought at my application (Ananda Sukarlan) on iPad.

So, hope you like it! It has no "nuances" or colours whatever, so very different from Chopin's, eh? It's just a game of rhythms. Oh, and it is only on the white keys! Only the beginning 5 bars have an air of mystery (a rather freaky one, I must say), and if you are playing on a piano that has only 2 pedals one can always hold the l.h. and try to get around with the jumps at the r.h, still with strictness of rhythm (the fermatas are only valid for the silences, but when there are notes, they have to be played as rhythmical as poss).

Have a nice time torturing yourself!


domingo, 29 de enero de 2012

Get a date by watching my operas

Do you know the easiest way to get a partner,at least for tonight? According to the statistics, the most potential places to get a date are: 1. in a painting gallery/museum. 2. in a concert hall, mostly at opera or ballet performances. In any case, avoid noisy places. Both places I mentioned are ideal: quiet and intimate, and people look pretty since they dress up.

I would be the happiest person on earth if one comes to me with his/her partner and say: "we met, and fell in love, at your opera (or concert) performance". And I tell you a secret: one of the purposes of the performance in Jakarta of our recent Java New Year Concert was exactly that. Remember that there were two operas back to back? Now I still haven't got the end results on who got a partner in that event, but here's the point.
You see, the best way is to talk to another person who came alone during the intermission, and if you are a shy person, well, there's always the easy conversation material: what do you think of the first half? Did you get the story and its twists? Did you like it? What do you think of the singers? Which aria do you like best (or hate the most)? And then, the usual "hi, my name's .." (things would be more perfect if it were Bond, James Bond)

"Normal" operas are usually in 2 or 3 acts, with one break in the middle. But that would be too "heavy" for the New Year Concert where in some cases a whole family came to watch (as well as singles!). So I gathered that putting 2 operas in one show would be a good idea. People watch 1 opera, have a break, and then see the next opera. In this case it's even perfect: during the intermission one can already talk about a whole opera. Of course both operas should be completely different, though they have a lot in common: both are written, composed and directed by the same people (Putu Wijaya, me and Chendra Panatan respectively), both are of the "funny" genre, and both have "same sex" singers (and therefore there is also a common theme: one of the characters in each opera is desperate to get laid, and asks his/her fellow protagonist for advice! In "The Real Man" it is her mom, and in "Instantly Rich" it's the witchdoctor; nothing can be so further opposed,eh). And we did give ample time during the break to get people socialize.

Yes, I am a naughty, naughty boy. But I do like watching people know each other and then fall in love. Don't you?

Well there is a reason behind my naughtiness. As written in Plato's "Symposium", both love and artistic inspiration have something in common: they are both "divine madness". Both are not logic since they can strike you wherever and whenever therefore they can be categorized as "madness", but a divine one. And then Sigmund Freud went further to say that any human creativity and artistic ideas are in fact just a transformation of our (sometimes distorted) sex drive.

And now just read all the libretto of any existing opera on this planet, and check the underlying theme. Now you understand, right? The real motif, or even leitmotif is not the notes. It's the three-letter word.