Let us continue our approach of this pianist and type-setter which evokes two of its work and its return and its recognition in Argentina.
Solange Bazely: Can you speak to us aboutwhat brought to the birth of the album “Tango in Duke”?
Gustavo Beytelmann: It is the Argentinian bandoneonist Gilberto Pereyra who knew Jean Kluger, producer of Blue, Blanc, Rouge which recommended to me. It had had the idea of this mixture of tango and of jazz and I even believe that it had tested with other musicians who undoubtedly knew the tango less betterand could not pass so easily from one state to the other.
I started with Sophisticated Lady which rained. I found that it was rather easy becauseI know the music of Duke Ellington at least as well as the tango. My father was in love with Ellington. Me even, I played all his parts in my childhood, it was a familiar music.
The work which for me could be interesting was a work of translation. How could one – let us admetttons the space of a disc – what Ellington was born in a suburb from Buenos Aires and likedthe tango, what I would make his parts? You know the original language well but is needed that you knows at least as well, the otherlanguage in which will be deposited this object.
I took up this challenge – on a side because I like the challenges but also because I felt at ease to make a similar thing thanks to the affinity and the knowledge of this music which opened the doors to me to pass from a world to another.
It is a repertory which I defend in public because I find that it has its place. It is not a problem of race, nor to have been born here where there but it is a problem of knowing. If I know the code and conventions, that I have the love, or the interest or curiosity to go to see what the neighbors do, I will find a manner. It is like a work of thesis for me. Because is a little toshow that us other musicians, if we know, we can accept or we can go towards or make come from the things which seem impossible to mix. Ca was a little my step, which also corresponds so that I am as an individual, with the things which I also defend in the life.
SB: Could you have been the initiator of this project?
GB: Not, at all. Never, never. They is curious. For the two discs which I made with Kluger, I would never have proposed similar things.
SB: Let us speak about this second adventure on the initiative of Jean Kluger, who gave rise to An Argentinian at theLouvre ?
GB: Yes, we had a disappointment because this disc of Ellington was to leave to Sony, meanwhile as that has often arrivedfor a few years in the world of the disc, there were problems, reorganizations and in fact, the disc of Duke which was to leave, did not leave. One could not any more what make. And Kluger says to me that it would be although we can have two discs instead of one.
It was to be content also with our relation and asks to me whether that tries me an experiment of this nature. Of course, that I agree because I would never have thought myself of that and I find that there are possibilities. I thus bought an enormous book which contains the photographs of all the permanent collection ofthe Louvre. Afterwards, I made a choice, reduced from 140 to 14/15 tables which I then went to see in the Louvre thousand times. From the impressions which I had, I composed the music who do not want to be descriptive but a subjective interpretation, an emotion, which that evokes me. It is not a realistic but subjective music. I did that on an absolutely significant idea. I accepted what impressed me more, without another criterion.
SB: How did you choice the instruments ?
GB: It was related to the sensitivity. I am say, if each table is a world, each table should not resemble to his neighbor. Since it is the same type-setter of all the musics, atleast that there is a quite precise characterization. Precisely concerning the phoenix which is a mosaic in Turkey, the instrument which was essential on me is the low clarinet, which, at the same timeas to be nimble, subjective and sensual, has a sound which can be connected with the origins of humanity and the world.
Famous Liberté guiding the People, which are a crossing of Paris with a heroic movement, waswritten for the Trio, string orchestra and percussionnist. And Jean Klüger followed me for all. I made with complete freedom. Without making the idiot either (Laughter). I could not use 145 musicians but I used varied an enough pallet of musicians which goes from the piano solo (as for example in The Lacemaker with which I have an emotional relationship with a painting that my father liked, with the beauty of the colors, a certain sadness decided to me to write In Memoriam), or the archers of Darius with the Trio…
But no table has the same organic constitution of instruments and a music which draws indeed its coherence from the author of all these works but who does not resemble himself of an end the other. There coherence, it should be sought on this side. But it is not a bond of cause for purpose but a more significantbond, of an emotional nature. Once that I was thousand times at the Louvre, was essential 12 parts with a different instrumentation, which answered as many characters and colors that pictorial works which impressed my sensitivity.
These are two discs which advanced to me in my personal research.
SB: Now, you have the project to record a discin Argentina with the piano solo …
GB: That means being confronted with myself,with my reflexes of pianist, my memory, my loneliness of musician, these things of which I had not judged until now that it was importantto do it. Today that corresponds to one period of my life, also compared to the quantity of things which I made and whose these 2 discs that one has just commented on are not the least. They enabled me to carry out a personal reflexion on my position as a musician, the means which I use, the type of design that I apply, etc etc… It is original for my life to put to me in studio and to play all alone of the things that normally I would have made say to other instruments.
At the same time, I have friends, like Mosalini which for 20 years, has said to me, “eh then stupid, when you will return in studioand to make us your disc of solos of piano?” Ca has been just confirmed yesterday with Ignacio Verchausky thus I did not say to him yet…
I will choose a repertory which is sufficiently justifying so that it causes the improvisation. Even if I will work out this material a little, there must remain rather open so thatI can change it as I play it today, the day after tomorrow, the next week… There must remain a share of risk, of challenge. Perhaps that I would put one or two musics at me but not more. The remainder should be musics of the repertory tango. Known parts of the repertory because I think that the play with the public must be that one. If I improvise on pieces which the public knows, the public can taste the variations which I can print. If not, people will listen to a music which is absolutely original, that they do not know, where they will be interested in another thing but not in this play which is of saying: let us tchachons around El Choclo, or of Cumparsita, Danzarin or Nocturna. Which variations I can impose on this historical material? Ca can establish a bond of complicity with the public. Therecording will on take place after the concerts which had lieuà Buenos Aires, with the Theatre Colonist March 1, 2004.
SB: With did the Trio, you have the occasion to play in Argentina ?
GB: Yes, me I had not measured the impact because I had not thought that Argentina had changed. When I arrived on May 28, 2003, a few days after the arrival of Kirschner to the Presidency, we made a small round, of Bariloche in Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires with Rosario and Rosario at my city, Venado Tuerto. We made two types of program since we gave 3 concerts with the Trio and two concerts which we made with the complicity of other Argentinian musicians for “Tango, Otra mirada”, which we had created in 1999, who is a music from mine to which is added the electronic music.
After having lived the exile of Argentinian in Paris, this voyage reinstated me in the Argentinian Republic. A little everywhere, the regional press, local and main road greeted me like a rehabilitation of the musician to his natural context. What occurred, for 20 years after the return of the democracy and at the end of May 2003, one never has been able spoken about another thing. A little everywhere where I went, there were concrete allusions to my past of militant, but it was like a medal. Paginated 12 of Rosario (the local edition) titrated: el tango que nos perdimos (the tango we lost)
I only ask to restore this bond. I do not know if I would like or if I could live there but what is sure it is that I am ready to make a personal effort for me return there much more often on the basis of exchange not inevitably economic but honest.
I record at the latest in Juillet/Août and I would be back for the exit of the disc. They are completely possible things. I know that I can play ten concert and restore the dialogue withthem. For me, it is important.
I think that perhaps I did not want to see. In my case, this history is 27 years old and I had been even a little accustomed to live in the idea that there, there was a wall. I did not believe so much in the possibility that the wall can fall or even I did not want to know that the wall can open.
Me which am accustomed to speaking in public, I do not have any difficulty in build an idea, I do not lose my words… You know what arrived to me? : I did not have any more a voice. Here… (Laughter). Ca did not leave…
SB: It is like the recognition of a responsibility in your departure ?
GB: It is that. You include/understand. Or Clarin (daily newspaper) that writes I made a success of the miracle to have a personal way apart from Piazzolla and of the jazz. I had never lived a trick like that.