Solo piano recital, Pompidou Centre, Paris
November 10, 2009

My friend Daniel Caux died last summer and his wife Jacqueline made a documentary film in homage to him. Daniel was a great writer, broadcaster, critic, curator with whom, I had worked since 1979. The film had interviews, performances and rehearsals given by musicians who Daniel admired, and who in their turn became his friends. This included Terry Riley, LaMonte Young, Steve Reich, Philip Glass, Pauline Oliveros, Meredith Monk and me. Jacqui filmed the rehearsal for my concert at York University in February when I worked with an ensemble of four of my players, plus a choir, The 24, directed by John Potter. She asked if, when the film was shown, whether I would be prepared to play for 30 minutes following the film, and I said yes. It was only some time later that I realised that I had last played solo piano, and then only briefly, in 1978 when Dave Smith and I gave a two piano concert at the Kitchen, New York. There I had played some pieces by Howard Skempton, but I have written no solo piano music as such. I had also not practised the piano since 1978…

The film was shown in the Grande Salle of the Pompidou Centre, to a packed hall, and I played immediately afterwards – they had provided me with the “best Steinway D in Paris”. To say I was apprehensive would be an understatement, but in the event it went well! I was subsequently asked to come back to Paris a couple of weeks later, to play at an evening with Jim Jarmusch at the Fondation Cartier, but couldn’t as this clashed with a performance of Nothing like the Sun in Lancaster (November 26).

Gavin Bryars