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Home arrow Older News Archive arrow Roger Waters interviewed about Ca Ira & sound effects!
Roger Waters interviewed about Ca Ira & sound effects! Print E-mail
Written by Matt   
Thursday, 09 September 2004

At the start of August, an interview with former Pink Floyd front man Roger Waters was posted in Dan's Papers - a Bridgehampton, New York publication. The full interview, by Steve Matteo, which can currently be read here is an interesting look at Roger, his career, and his forthcoming opera, Ca Ira.

Waters spoke to Matteo a few days before final rehearsals for the Bridgehampton performance (reported on last month). In the article, Matteo reports:

Waters began working on Ça Ira in 1989 after being approached to write the music by Etienne Roda-Gil, who had written the libretto. Waters spent six weeks putting together a two-hour-plus demo of the music, which is rooted in the revolutionary music of the early 19th century. Of the music he wrote for the opera, he says, “It’s very melodic and, I hope, emotionally moving.” The story is about the French Revolution. The Paris Opera was considering using the piece for the inaugural segment of its bicentennial celebration of the French Revolution. The work was so highly regarded, even in its rough demo stage, that Francois Mitterand was even made aware of it and subsequently wrote a letter urging the Paris Opera to perform it for the celebration. In the end, Waters felt it wasn’t used because the French may have felt that having an English bass player’s work commemorate such an historic French holiday would be inappropriate.

Waters continued to work on the piece, while “learning more about how an orchestra works.” He set to work, figuring out how the piece would be performed live for an 82-piece orchestra. In the process he took the unprecedented step of adding sound effects to the recording. Waters admitted, “(Using) sound effects is kind of unusual, but it’s something I’ve always done in my rock ‘n’ roll work, and I see no reason why it shouldn’t work with an orchestral piece.”

The recording of the opera, which is divided into three acts, has nearly been completed and should be released sometime in early 2005. Waters drew a comparison between Ça Ira and his monumental work “The Wall.”

“‘The Wall’ is operatic in the sense that it’s a story that is sung, and although it’s more episodic than most operas are, the narrative is less clearly defined than it is in a lot of operas.”

In discussing the daunting task of completing Ça Ira, Waters gave insight into his schematic approach to the opera and to all his works: “One of my skills is to solve the problems inherent in the mathematics in music. I feel I have an inside path to solve those problems. I guess that’s what being a musician is. It’s not something I have to think about. I just do it. It comes from an inner knowledge of what’s correct to me.”

It has been 12 years since Waters’s last studio album. When asked if another rock-oriented work is on the horizon, he said, “It’s there. I’ve written that album so many times and I’ve recorded it so many times. I just haven’t managed to spit the thing out.” Waters will soon release two songs he wrote just after the invasion of Iraq: “Leaving Beirut,” an autobiographical song about a trip Waters made to Baghdad when he was 18 and “To Kill a Child,” which could be about any war. He says of the songs, “Hopefully they will encourage some of us and irritate others.”

At 60, Waters, the father of three children (a son age 28, a daughter age 26 and a son age 7), is working on many other projects. He is just about to conclude a deal that will result in a feature film to be made of “The Final Cut” (“The Wall” was made into a feature film), and he will tour again in 2006.

The full interview can, for a very limited time, be read here. Please be sure to check it out before it goes!

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