C’est un faux pas vrai, mais non?

Nicolas Horvath, the French pianist who commissioned my homage-to-Philip-Glass piano piece Going to Bed, is finally giving the piece its long-delayed European premiere. It’s part of an all-night program, June 27-28, titled First French Night of Minimal Piano Music, way at the very end, at the Protestant Temple in Collioure in southern France. Looks heavenly. France is not a country I would have expected to pick up on my music, but I’ve had several performances there in recent years – perhaps significantly, none in Paris.

My piece is based on the chord sequence from the “Bed” scene from Einstein on the Beach. I probably should have given more thought to the title. I sent a copy of the piece to a woman pianist of my acquaintance. A couple of months later I ran into her, and she reeled off, as I waxed in silent impatience, a list of new pieces she was about to play on an upcoming concert, none of them written by myself. At last she paused, and, after a decent moment, I blurted out, “So, how about Going to Bed?” I studied the dubious look on her face for a full five seconds before it dawned on me what I’d said. We were not in a private situation.

Call it a Freudian slip, but I think most male composers over a certain age (say, 40 at most) will vouch for me that, given a choice between getting laid and a highly visible premiere, at this point we’ll take the premiere.

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Comments

  1. says

    Looks like a great program. You really should go, Kyle. Collioure is beautiful – you can understand what attracted all the Fauve painters. It’s also the anchovy capitol of France.

    KG replies: Well, you had me up to the last sentence.

  2. says

    So skip the anchovies. The town has a terrific walking tour with reproductions of some of the Fauve paintings displayed on easels at the sites where they were painted.

  3. says

    I feel ya man. Meaning, of course, that I am in sympathy with your assertion and not threatening a tactile incursion.

  4. says

    Kyle, funny, understandable, and probably deeply embarrassing for you, too, at the time. I’m thinking of Barney Childs’ Sleep, and then going on…. as having a similar double meaning. You could have mentioned that you were a keen gardener (going to bed), and we’d be in a Carry On film. But given that there are few (no?) women who comment on this list, here’s another way of thinking. There is no upper age limit for men to proposition women, so if she didn’t know you (although she should have realised it was your piece!), it was also very embarrassing for her. It’s a regular occurrence for women who work in a new music environment with composers, since there are few women and so many men, some (many?) who think that their compositional activity is a metaphor for their sexual potency and perhaps their genitalia. It happens frequently enough that when a man in a normal, friendly or businesslike situation commits a perfectly unintentional double entendre, alarm bells ring, very loudly in the case of younger and better looking women. Or so I’m told.

    KG replies: Oh, Virginia, I finessed it with my usual panache. Le charmant, c’est moi.