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What do composers talk about?
Tonight I am surrounded by composers in a concert in Amsterdam. The concert featured atonal music, something I have yet to grasp. Is it here to stay? Why do I get the feeling that it is superior to tonal music?
"It's just a passing fad," dismissed my Dutch composer/pianist friend. Her style is what I aim to achieve, for it's tonal and well-structured.
Atonal music never sticks to me like the way tonal does. It's easy to remember a melody. In fact, I want to remember a melody. But I can't remember sound and tension.
Before the concert, she had wondered whether the composition of her colleague would be as laid back as she was. Does the product reflect the producer? It did. Her colleague's music was spacious, with equal amounts of sound and silence, taking turns.
I am trying to simplify my music. Too many notes. Too many ideas. Not enough structure. Not enough form. Those were my complaints. Like the journey in my life, my music is going through a decluttering phase. Less is more, and that's why I admire my friend's music.
While queuing for a glass of wine, I overheard my friend apologise for speaking in English instead of Dutch. I was curious. Who was she talking to?
"Ik ben een componist en pianist," the young man replied to my question. So, he is a composer and a pianist, like us.
"Waar woont u?" I asked. He lives in South Amsterdam.
"Waar komt u vandaan?" I asked. Where do you come from?
"Ik kom uit Chicago," he replied.
"Oops! I'm so sorry. I thought you were Dutch," I apologised.
As it turned out, he teaches music during the day.
"Ah! So you don't have to speak Dutch," I assumed.
I was wrong. He teaches in Dutch. He has only lived here for one and a half years. And he's able to converse and teach in Dutch.
I will have to try harder. Otherwise, I won't be able to speak deeply about music --- in Dutch.
11 March 2004 Thursday