Music for Heart and Breath

A slow process of creating a new way of playing music.  

Here is what it is:  very soft, very quiet music, played utterly in synch with the heart rates and breathing rates of the musicians performing it. Every note you hear is either in synch with the heartbeat of the person playing it, the breathing of the person (or one of the surrounding persons) playing it.

So what you hear when this music plays is played precisely in time with someone’s quiet, internal rhythms.  Brought to musical life by a handful of different ensembles. And now, at last, recorded in full, and coming out on Deutsche Grammophon in a few weeks from now.  

It has been a joy to create this work, and even more of a joy to have it brought to life by such a fantastic cast of musical minds.

Harpsichord Cadenza from Bach's Fifth Brandenburg Concerto
  • Harpsichord Cadenza from Bach's Fifth Brandenburg Concerto
  • Andreas Staier, Musica Antiqua Köln & Reinhard Goebel
  • Bach: Brandenburgische Konzerte

The harpsichord cadenza in the first movement of J.S. Bach’s fifth Brandenburg Concerto. Performed by Andreas Staier; accompanied by Musica Antiqua Köln and Reinhard Goebel. 

Recording by Archiv Produktion, under Deutsche Grammophon.

Comparative listening

A long time ago when I was in Korea and very young, I always had a “favorite version” of this piece and that one. I cherished them by listening over and over again, on cassette tape in my Sony Walkman®, and got the tapes totally used within a couple of weeks (really, that much). 

We had this 30LP disc anniversary edition of Deutsche Grammophon at home. I compiled my weekly selection on cassette. The impressions last- no wonder…! I still remember clearly the ritardando of Milstein (Tchaikovsky), the accentuation of Segovia (Albeniz), the vibrato of Zöller (Mozart) although it was almost 30 years ago.

Since yesterday, I am continuing my comparative work by listening one piece by different maestros. I noticed that my hearing became -of course- lot more accurate, but the most important thing that I realize is that since that time, I always knew what I wanted musically, by making abstraction of my technical limits, of myself or the instrument itself.

Music is a language, and it is more than natural that some would prefer one or the other way of saying it. Sometimes, I hear it said in a certain way that I am not familiar with, so I become curious in order to add this “accent” in my own repertoire, like the huge rubato coming out from nowhere of Richter’s in the 1st movement of Rachmaninov 2nd piano concerto. (That must be a Russian thing.)

I am saying: having an idea of how music should sound must be one of the most important requirements to become a soloist. Even at a very young age. And then, once you have it, good guidance can help you through the technical requirements in order to make the ideas become real.

Some of my fellow musicians are very good technicians, but their idea of music still stays only within given boundaries. At a certain period of my life, some told me that I should be more like them. And that coming from very big musicians as well.
(To all people who told me that, you were wrong. Looking back, I think this was definitely the most stupid thing I have heard in my life….!)

I always refused to believe when some told me flute should be like this and that. I choose flute because it is my instrument and my life, but for instance, I do have music in my head and this is where I want to live.

You can not fly because you just drive a car?
Poor you.

Rufus Wainwright announces new Shakespeare inspired album

Rufus Wainwright celebrates the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death in typically dramatic fashion by releasing a unique collection of nine sonnets in stunning performances by both actors and vocalists. Set for release on 22 April on Deutsche Grammophon, it also marks the first collaboration between Rufus and Marius de Vries since they co-produced the epic Want albums.

The performers on this new recording include vocalists Florence Welch, Martha Wainwright, Anna Prohaska and, of course, Rufus himself, as well as actors Siân Phillips, Helena Bonham Carter, Carrie Fisher and William Shatner.