The Return of Desire is what can happen when two classically-trained musicians get together with no plan other than being in the moment.
CREATING THE MUSIC
Eve Kodiak: â€œWe did not know what we were going to play . . . Iâ€™d intended to make an album that actually recorded the process of creating relationship. But I had no idea of the intimacy that this would require. There was no moment when David and I were not intensely listening to the music being created between us â€“ because we began with no chord changes, no melodies, no assumptions, nothing except our commitment to play this moment together.â€
David Darling: â€œWhen I play with a pianist, they sometimes end up going someplace I just canâ€™t go. With Eve, that never happened. I donâ€™t know whether itâ€™s because she knows my music so well, or just feels it the way I do, even my rubato. . . but after the first day, we took a drive and listened to what we had recorded, and every take seemed perfect. It was a miracle.â€
DD: â€œThe weekend after we finished the CD, I listened over and over, and I realized that it could never have been recorded by players who didnâ€™t have strong classical backgrounds.â€
EK: â€œWe exchange many different musical languages. I tend toward those Ralph Vaughn Williams-, Aaron Copland- type folk melodies. David leans more towards dark, complex romantic harmonies â€“ Mahler, Schoenberg. We share Middle Eastern sensibilities, David with his Rumi improvisations and me with my Jewish background, as well as a feel for jazz, a reverence for Bach . . . plus about a hundred other things. So when one of us makes a musical leap, the other can jump right in after.â€
DD: â€œI once sat behind Eve, watching her as she played. . . she has complete control of every sound and nuance.â€
EK: â€œEach one of Davidâ€™s notes tells a story.â€
DD: â€œI remember the wonder of my motherâ€™s piano . . . of putting my hands down on the keys and hearing instant music! Even now, I like to begin the day by just putting my hands down on the piano and listening. . . I always have paper and pencil ready to write down the first chord of the day.â€
EK: â€œ My younger brother played the cello, so from the time I was ten until the time I left home at eighteen, I heard the cello being practiced almost every day of my life . . . my favorite sound in the world is the four open strings of a cello, and I have begun many pieces with those four mystical tones.â€
DD: â€œI began playing the cello when I was seven. I loved the cello! It was an instrument I could put my arms around and hold.â€
EK: â€œI started improvising on the piano at the age of three, but secretly, only while my mother was on the telephone. I believed that, as long as she kept talking, she would not hear my musical explorations . . .â€
David Darling, cellist, improviser, composer, educator, was Grammy-nominated for his solo album Cello Blue. Former member of the Paul Winter Consort, he is an ECM recording artist and the composer of film scores for directors such as Wim Wenders and Jean Luc Godard.
David is also artistic director of Music for People, a non-profit organization dedicated to making the joys of improvisation available to all people, at all levels of musical experience. Music for People holds workshops throughout the year in the U.S.A. and Europe, and graduates of this unique program are sprinkled all over the world.
Eve Kodiak, pianist, improviser, composer, educator, kinesiologist is the creator of SOUND INTELLIGENCE, a new approach to learning that combines music and developmental movement. She is the author of CD/Book sets for sensory integration such as Rappinâ€™ on the Reflexes and Feelinâ€™ Free, which are used by teachers, parents, practitioners, and children on five continents. Her next set, Anyone Can Improvise! Making the Piano Your Own is scheduled to be released in December, 2008.
Eve is a member of The Lydian Center for Innovative Medicine, where she practices her unique combination of kinesiology and sound healing, working with people at all ages and stages.
THE RETURN OF DESIRE:
Eve Kodiak: Itâ€™s hard to believe how quickly this album has manifested. Itâ€™s June 26, 2008, and three months ago, The Return of Desire: Improvisations for Cello and Piano was not even a thought.
Three months ago, I took a workshop with Gina Ogden, Ph.D., whose new book, The Return of Desire, published by Shambala Press, was to be released July 8. Iâ€™d brought some of my work CDâ€™s, solo piano improvisations I was developing for healing purposes, and Gina exclaimed, â€œWe need music for The Return of Desire!â€ We talked; she was serious.
Iâ€™d wanted to make an album with David Darling for two years, from the first moment I put his Cello Blue in the CD player. I was suddenly encompassed by a rich musical landscape; it was like Narnia before the animals appeared. As if in a dream, I sat down at the piano and began playing butterflies above its still waters. I belonged in that landscape; I never wanted to leave.
After Ginaâ€™s workshop, I went back to my office and improvised over a haunting circle of fifths chord progression. That night I emailed David.
In the wee hours, I woke up, the phrase â€œthe return of desire,â€ resonating in my mind. I grabbed a pencil, and began writing lyrics. I wasnâ€™t writing to anyone in particular, the words were flowing out of the feel of desire itself, the feel of that chord progression, bits of imagery glinting from the fragments of my life like shards of broken glass â€“
I almost remember
the scent of your hair
singed by sunlight
and brushing a bare
shoulder. . . I remember
a glimpse of fire!
Your eyes met mine and held them â€“
the return of desire.
The story of this song is far too complicated to tell here. It is currently a vocal single, with singer Nanette Perrotte. Itâ€™s downloadable with Ginaâ€™s book, and will eventually be part of a new vocal album.
As for this instrumental album: when I arrived at Davidâ€™s studio in the middle of May, he had a thick folder of ideas Iâ€™d been sending â€“ CDâ€™s Iâ€™d recorded, track lists, musical ideas. He hadnâ€™t given them much more than a glance; he was waiting for me to make some decisions.
The decision I made was to jettison all of it. It was a decision both practical and philosophical. Iâ€™ve discovered that, with improvisations, you usually want either the first take - or the two hundredth. We were on a tight schedule; first takes seemed like the
practical way to go. And, philosophically speaking, I was interested in creating music in which the medium was also the message. I wanted this CD not only to be about desire, but to record the process of two souls, beginning at point zero, in the activity of desire, attempting to find one another.
I didnâ€™t talk to David about this intention; that would have marred the blank slate I was envisioning. So we started each improvisation only with a short image, like â€œearly morning birds.â€ (This becam Intimations). Or a tiny musical instruction, like â€œStart with that ostinato on A.â€ (This became Imagining You). Once we began, we usually recorded series of pieces that followed one from the other, with no verbal cues at all. We chose about 75% of them, and put the rest in a folder for another album.
The names for the most of the pieces came later. When I listened to the music we had recorded, the titles just wrote themselves. The Return of Desire: Improvisations fulfilled my original intention in ways I could never have planned, or even imagined. Rather than describing my idea of relationship, the process of making the CD taught me about what relationship is.
We recorded most of the album in one three-day period. We met twice more to mix, and record the few pieces we still needed to create the whole. This process took less than three weeks. I then took it to the mastering studio, to bring out its luster.
Now, when I listen to The Return of Desire: Improvisations, I re-experience the two of us listening as we play, listening with an attention so complete that it is, in itself, a kind of beauty. It seems, as David says, like a miracle.