This conversation needs a few footnotes. This evening, Hamish, my best friend from Scotland, arrives. That means a change of regime here. I am not allowed in the kitchen or even to choose what is cooked. Anyway, Hamish does all the work, so that suits me. But he can become a bit of a Hitler, if I don’t watch out.
Ananda Sukarlan is my great mate from students days in Den Haag. But he now lives in Spain with his wife and child and organizes his career from there (concert pianist). At the same time he is increasingly creative – writing music and organizing events. But he starts out from the point of view that the postwar classical music avant-garde is a pile of stinking shite. So that makes for a sometimes difficult relationship between the two of us. He enjoys stinging me on this subject and when he sees a nice red bump coming up, he swoops in to sting me a second and a third time.
Why do I tolerate it? Well one reason is that A. is very interested in my music. Another reason is that my views actually overlap his. The idea that “it is not done” to like certain music or “not done” to watch (for example) a memorial concert to Diana, is something that irritates me, to put it mildly. So if I am not exactly an Andrew Lloyd Webber fan, I heartily approve of the idea of liking any music that you like, just because you like it. The question “how can you like that?” – well it’s more of an admonition of course – is just about the worst question you can ask me. The concept of “good taste” cannot drop off the face of this planet fast enough, as far as I’m concerned.
I had sent A. a photocopy of “For Kitty”, a little piano piece that someone commissioned a few years back as a Christmas present for his wife. I am at pains to point out that the style of this music strikes me as uniquely “me”. He makes a pun on the title of one of my works You, Always You. We both refer also to The Beautiful Question and The Persistence of Gravity, two piano pieces I wrote for him when he was a student. Finally, as background to this conversation, lies the fact that I have been for some months sorting through my compositions. I have been finding pieces I had forgotten about and, in some cases, pieces I don’t even recognize……
A.S. nice kitty you have
G.K. Is it really good?
hmm … too short
but very nice
I think that style is unique to me. Or am I wrong?
yes, it’s very “YOU” . You, Always You
It’s the same mood as “Beautiful Question”
well, in fact i think u should make them into 1 group. 3 pieces. with the persistence of grav
Well wait, there are other piano pieces that you’ve not seen yet
My flowering genius…..
I am more fertile than most [lipstick emot.]
so, your genius hasn’t been exposed completely ???
hidden genius … or undiscovered genius ?
Well I’m actually serious here
me too !!
What amuses me about For Kitty
is that although you’ve got all the usual chords
and stuff from Romanticism
it’s unique to me
well that’s how it strikes me
but I might be 1000% wrong here
oh yea, but u know debussy said “the c major scale in beethoven’s works sounds different” . i mean, we all work with materials used by thousands of composers
it’s not the material we use. it’s what we do with it, right ?
Yep, well I’m just lucky if it’s true, what I say, because I’m not TRYING to be different
Am just writing a bit of “beautiful question” that comes naturally
Anyway, glad you got it
It will be interesting to see how many piano pieces there are
u don’t have to try to be different
just write good music
You mean me personally or WE
You mean the “difference” is already there?
i think so
all that avantgarde rubbish is there because people TRY to be different … and then they all became the same … absolutely equal ….
DID YOU WATCH THE DIANA CONCERT?
no, i couldn’t ! what was it ? how was it ?
It was fab
there was an Andrew Lloyd Webber selection
yeah, i was travelling … and stuck in the bloody studio
oh ! i missed it
….and I saw Diana’s sister crying after it was over…
apparently D liked ALW
so there was classical music !
thats good . i thought it was pop music
There was also a bit from Swan Lake which made me tearful
And Elton John is a total master
I have to take my hat off to him
[smiley with tongue hanging out emot.]
yes, Elton is great
No, it was everything: Pop, Rap, Oldie Rock Bands, Musicals, Ballet
Elton is a master
what a man!
And I’m so proud of him ’cause he’s gay
Well but at least there is classical music. it’s not “dead” like many people say
Classical music lives on in this strange way, through films, musicals etc.
And in the subsidized sense too
yea, so in a big concert like the D. memorial there is Swan Lake, ALW … am very happy to hear it
Yeah and the SwanL. went down a treat, there was a roar of approval
People like what is good
They don’t get stuck in genre problems
WOW !! u really, really made me happy
Kanye West…………mmmm……..I want to lick him all over
[big smiley emot.]
[smiley with tongue hanging out emot.]
Anyway I have to house clean now because Hamish is arriving