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<<  -- 3 --  Jennifer I Paull    A MUSICIAN WITHOUT BORDERS


My greatest fear: repetition.
-- Max Frisch (1911-1991), author and critic

There is not a whiff of it here; not one drop in Gilles' world of the perpetual search for renewal. This is why he refuses to compromise with the works he loves and play them until, through repetition, automatic pilot instead of freshness would surely cling like an aura; his greatest fear.

The decade of musical journeying illustrated by these fascinating films, gives more than ample evidence of this great artist: a chameleon, musical vagabond with a heavy backpack of extraordinary talent and a contortionist's flexibility, free from convention and the 'fungal diseases contracted in music conservatories'.

My plea is to make all four available as DVDs. Not only violinists can benefit from their riches. We all can. Gilles teaches how to listen to and how to sing music. If a teacher sings, how many Western instrumentalists can imitate the sung notes, the phrasing and ornamentation with nothing on paper in front of them, only ears to guide their fingers? This is just one gift brought to him from India and illustrated in this DVD. His ability to listen and his uninhibited freedom to translate what is heard into performance are not taught in Western schools. We are note-bound.

The conventional cattle market of Prizes/Competitions/Diplomas inherent in our Western system of musical education -- or more appropriately, 'the pressure cooker' -- is anathema to music itself, he explains. It breeds stress, tension and fear. 'One learns how to play notes but not music.' He adds, 'Libère-moi des notes!' -- set me free from notes! Music is what lies behind the written notes of our culture, but the search to explore its very essence has led him on to others, which are not written and thus the deeper re-evaluation of that, which is.

Gilles Apap deliberately pours himself and his fluidity into an atomiser that could never hold a common or garden perfume. That takes guts. He has them in plenty to stand up tall and live what he believes to be his musical destiny. 'I put my head on the chopping block and each time, I go a little bit further'. He knows that he will be criticised for being unconventional. It takes courage to refuse the career and income that would be his with acceptance of the treadmill for which so many yearn as ultimate proof of success.

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Copyright © 28 July 2004 Jennifer I Paull, Vouvry, Switzerland


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