vMichael and I went up to the attic today where I keep all my music and where I sometimes work if the neighbours get too noisy. Nearly all my manuscripts are there, plus sketches. There are also many sketches which never came to anything, ranging from almost complete pieces, through to snippets of paper with just a couple of chords. There is a computer, a keyboard and a desk and one bookcase. And from the window you get a view right across to the Westerkerk in the far, far distance. With the naked eye you can just about make out the flags that are flown there on National Days, flagpoles sticking out at angles. That was the case today, which is bevreidingsdag.
Ananda Sukarlan is artistic director of a music festival in Jakarta that takes place in July and August. Chendra Panatan is organising it (he’s AS’s manager in Indonesia) and I had to let him have a title for the little piano piece that I had written earlier in the year, as this will be premiered during the festival. So that’s what Michael and I were busy with upstairs – deciding about a title. I had made a rough recording (it’s written for piano/three hands) , so we listened to that through headphones, first me, then Michael.
It has to be stated that I have quite an extensive collection of titles already. I make them up independently of writing music. These I regard as virtually mini-poems. Titles are meant to spring naturally from your work, but here’s the thing, I don’t follow that convention. He-he.
Anyway, we looked at a sheet of over a hundred titles and listened to the music at the same time. I selected one. I was hoping Michael would select the same one, but he didn’t. I was certain of my choice however, so, after he said what he thought, I still proposed the title I had liked. He listened to the work again and started to come round to my point of view more and more. So when I saw that that enthusiasm was genuine, I decided to go ahead with my choice and we were both satisfied that it was good.
The piece is called “Saint Michael is Slaying the Dragon”.
As I was writing this blog, there was a blackbird singing so beautifully in the trees outside that I went on to the bacony to see if I could see it. It was disconcerting – so beautiful that it was a virtuoso blackbird, so to speak. Or perhaps another species, even. I couldn’t see the bird, or even work out in which direction to look for it. Disconcerting.