Monday, June 14, 2010

Royal Opera House 'Depouillement' Creative YouTube project 'Songs of the Auvergne'

The Royal Ballet London has asked for creative suggestions for music for 'Depouillement' a dance choreographed for no music  What an opportunity! For me who loves doing this sort of thing it is a gift. 5 minutes of best quality dance footage to play about with for free.

About two years ago I learned how to use Garageband and the 'Songs of the Auvergne' is the outcome. May not be perfect but I am very proud of it. I do sing but I have no formal musical education, well neither did Wagner, but I had even less so just to be able to orchestrate this music in my own key and make a commercial CD for me is a miracle.

To be able to add dance even to one item is a gift. This is done very simply on iMovie 6.3 and took just a couple of hours. It is not perfect for iMove has its limitations, I cannot centre or layer or key.  A couple of hours on my Final Cut and all the letter boxing would go so this is a kind of 'draft'. Also the dance is really abstract so it is difficult to make it 'fit' but in the absence of any other footage it will do for me.

I do everything on a very basic computer, well mac computer, using a very basic old  tape camcorder hence the ghastly 'letterboxing'. I have no sound recording equipment at all. I use my camera!  The sound is fabulous on A1 speakers by the way.

'Bailero' is one of 'The Songs of the Auvergne' by The French composer Canteloube. I have always loved them but never found a pianist up to the accompaniments which are horrendously difficult for anyone less than St Peter! So when I found out I could write out anything musical in Garageband by hand, I do not  play an instrument,  I took my opportunity and I am proud of the result.

My musical friends, sadly most of  whom are dead, would be astonished. Singers of my ilk spend their entire lives being told we are not musical which was not true.

In fact if I were younger I could even have done the dance as I trained as a ballet dancer and made my debut with the Royal Ballet as a child in 1957. I have been working my way down ever since!

I have learned to do everything myself because in my life nobody was going to give me the opportunity but no matter if you want something badly enough you just do it. May not get to the top of Everest but half way is good especaily if you can't start half the way up as many of my male peers did. Oxford was a BIG advantage! So was being male especially with the BBC!

Th Royal Ballet did give me an  'opportunity' after seeing my production of 'Erwartung'. They helped with the promo of 'Dance Tales Story Ballets' which made it to the BBC for which I shall be eternally grateful.

For me the freedom to be creative has been given to me in my later years. I longed to do this at 17 and in fact  I could but was never allowed to play with the boys  and that is what it is all about. Playing and making mistakes.

I am going to have another go at an abstract more conventional approach with my first effort using loops on Garageband and also add the one musical masterpiece Eric Satie's 'Gymnopodie 1' that I think fits the best but that is a true masterpiece and very difficult to 'top'. Not even going to try.

I am not sure my mature age group was exactly what the ROH had in mind but  what a brilliant idea. Why did nobody t think of it before? I look forward to seeing all the other creative videos.

Here is my first effort below. I have only 4x3 format  The Royal Ballet's plain version looks dreadful on this site owing to the width of the column which I have not way of changing   so here is the link 'Depouillement'. It actually needs 'Gymnopodie 1' by Eric Satie and I shall do this version too but that is not what the Royal Ballet is after!

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