Un Quart d'Heure avec Dom Juan

1991 28 minutes
Tape, Soprano, Spoken voice (feminine)
 St Petersburg, Russia
 Bülach, Switzerland
 Tübingen, Germany
 Lugano, Switzerland

This piece had a difficult start but a good finish. Mischa had been in Toulouse and asked a producer/writer, André Benedetto, to take part in the Don Giovanni project, the idea behind being that he could later tour in France with his troupe. Benedetto wrote the text of a dialogue between a younger and an older sister. The older woman (spoken) tries to prevent her younger sister (sung) from making the same mistakes with D.G. which she made - all in vain. It purports to be a quarter hour but even with very rapid delivery of the spoken text which often overlaps the sung text it was almost half an hour long.

I received my copy of the text (after long delays) via St Petersburg. I rang back to say that I would do it, but Almira, Mischa's girlfriend, misunderstood me and told Mischa I wasn't doing it. I went ahead and didn't ring again until it was nearly finished. This time I spoke to Yuri, who said by the way, it was a pity I wasn't doing it. By this time they had of course been using other music, but they agreed to go back to mine. I recorded Fiona's voice (as the younger sister) and a French speaking friend, Josianne Wehrli, as the older woman and stuck the whole thing together out of tiny fragments - an enormous job, but the result was good and the Russians were delighted (if not by the length - it was intended as an insert in a much bigger work). In the mean time Mischa had had a fight with Benedetto, France was out. Eventually they had an invitation to take it to a Youth Theatre Competition in Lugano, where they won first prize. We travelled to Lugano and also saw it again in Bülach. The whole work was well over 3 hours long (typical Russian length) with other music from percussionist Vladimir Tarasov, Schnittke and other Mozart fragments.

My payment for the music was to be a picture by Yuri, which he left lying with several others in a big folder in Lugano. It never showed up again! Later I received the picture called Don Giovanni of two stylised archetypal monsters copulating, which was also used for their production poster.