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In Conversation with Luc Ferrari

Originally published in 20th Century Music (USA, December 1999) and in SAN Journal of Electroacoustic Music Vol. 13, (September 2000). Republished in eContact! 10.2 — Entrevues / Interviews with the kind permission of the author.

The following conversation took place on 6th May 1999 at Luc Ferrari and Brunhild Meyer’s home, near Paris: we were sitting on a beautiful balcony facing the back garden of the house. As his English is not fluent, Ferrari was rather apprehensive when he heard that the interview was, indeed, going to take place in English. We eventually managed to go through the whole interview with some help from Brunhild Meyer’s and a few short translations into German which have been converted into English. Much of the written text been edited — with the composer’s consent — but this has not at all altered the sense and flavour of his rather witty and enjoyable style. However, the composer asked me to mention explicitly to the readers that the nature of his short replies is mainly due to his poor English and that if the conversation would have taken place in French, he would have certainly provided more extensive answers and arguments.

Luc Ferrari was born in Paris in 1929.

I have carried out works, which lead more or less away from merely musical concerns. Some of them appeal to an encounter between different branches of what could be one single tree. The problem is to try to express ideas, feelings, passing intuitions by different means, to observe everyday life in all its realities, wether they are social, psychological or sentimental. This might express itself in text form, in writing for instruments, in electroacoustic compositions, reports, movies, music theater and so on.

He passed away on 22nd of August 2005.

 [John Palmer] Luc, perhaps we could start by looking at your artistic formation, your musical education… Was there music in your family, in your home?

[Luc Ferrari] No, not at all. There was no reason to make music. It was a family like… how could I describe it… petite bourgeoisie! [Laughter] My sisters started to play the piano (I had three elder sisters). I began to play the piano when I was very young — I must have been perhaps eight years old — and then my piano playing got better than my sisters’. When they notice it, they said: “this little boy is very gifted.” I then began to take the piano seriously. After some years, I started to write music simply because it was normal for me to write music. At fifteen, I wrote little pieces of absolute no interest, but I began to learn how to write and play my music, whilst at the same time I was learning how to play Bach, Ravel, Debussy and all the repertoire of a normal student of classical music.

[JP] I see, when then did you feel that conviction inside you that you wanted to be a composer?

[LF] After that! Later, when I was about 18.

[JP] Then you went to the Conservatoire.

[LF] Before that, I actually went to the Conservatoire of Versailles — that was before I was 18 — because Versailles was a serious Conservatoire, and from there students could access the Paris Conservatoire. It was the normal way to do it at that time, because the same professor who was teaching at Versailles would have taken you on in Paris.

[JP] And you studied piano with Cortot.

[LF] No, I started with somebody rather unknown. The fact that I started to write music at that time soon became a kind of conflict with my piano teachers, mainly because I had a lot of interest in contemporary music. I tried to play Prokofieff, Bartók, but they didn’t like that, because in 1945, after the war, nobody knew about this music. Especially the professionals didn’t know! I tried to play Bartók’s sonata and my first piano professor at Versailles said to me: “If you play that, you cannot stay at Versailles, because that is not music.” [Laughter]

[JP] Amazing.

[LF] This was the time when the conflict began. After that, I tried to go to the Paris Conservatoire, but I was carrying my own conflicts with me and I didn’t manage to access the state examinations for the piano class. That’s when I began to take my writing very seriously, and I think that maybe this was the reason why I started being a composer.

[JP] So you didn’t study with Cortot, at all.

[LF] No, because I could not get in the Paris Conservatoire. I went to the École Normale de Musique where Cortot was the director.

[JP] But that was a conservatoire, too, wasn’t it?

[LF] Yes… a kind of. There I began to work with Cortot.

[JP] After that, you studied with Honegger; is that true?

[LF] Well, a little. I saw him sometimes at the École Normale. I went to his classes, but for me it was not very interesting. At this time I liked his music, which I found very modern, like Bartók’s. After that, I looked at Schoenberg and so on and it was the difference of styles that I liked. But after the initial impact, I found the personality of Honegger too formal, maybe too conventional, as perhaps his music. When we are young we like everything. We have no æsthetic limitations.

[JP] When did you study with Messiaen? Was it the next step?

[LF] Yes. After that I went to his classes at the Paris Conservatoire. There it was possible to learn about all the musics, because Messiaen was very good at that. So, he would take Honegger, Schoenberg, Varèse and several other composers and talk about them. That was very important for me.

[JP] Was this the time when Stockhausen and Boulez were there?

[LF] No, it was after that. At this time I didn’t see them, nor anybody else.

[JP] So you were somewhat isolated as a student.

[LF] Yes.

[JP] Then in 1954 you went to New York in order to meet Varèse. What can you tell me about this meeting. Was it important for you?

[LF] Yes. Very important. Varèse was very interesting because there was no problems of generation with him.

[JP] He was in his late sixties at that time and you were very young.

[LF] We became friends immediately. I was not like a child for him and he was not like the big old maestro with me. And for me that was very special, because the Paris Conservatoire had been so full of formality and hierarchy. At this time all the students would said “mæstro Messiaen”, “maestro Professor of Piano,” “maestro everybody else.” It was always so formal! But with Varèse was not like this.

[JP] What were you doing in New York?

[LF] Nothing.

[JP] How long did you stay there?

[LF] I stayed maybe three weeks… I don’t remember exactly.

[JP] So it was a short vacation.

[LF] Yes.

[JP] What kind of work did you do with Varèse?

[LF] I showed him my scores and he showed me his. We went to eat and drink at the Italian restaurants in the area, and we walked around and spoke to the people there. Everybody knew him on the street. It was very beautiful.

[JP] Informal and friendly.

[LF] Yes. Very much so.

[JP] How did you get in touch with him?

[LF] I wrote him before my trip, because I heard the Paris performance of Deserts. I was actually ill — I had a flu — on the day of the performance and could not go to the concert, so I had to hear it on the radio next to my bed. For me this music was fantastic! I had never heard anything like that! And it was a scandal!

[JP] That’s right. It was premiered here in Paris in 1954.

[LF] Yes. And then I wrote to him. But before that I went to the first concerts of musique concrète, and that was for me avantgarde, because it was so extreme and experimental. With Varèse was the same! My musical consciousness awoke then.

[JP] Had you met Pierre Schæffer before your New York trip?

[LF] No. I heard the concerts in the early fifties, but I didn’t meet him at this time. I met him after my return from the USA.

[JP] As you have already hinted, Schæffer’s work must have opened in you a new perspective and approach to composition.

[LF] Well, the compositions of Schæffer were totally new because of the technology employed. To “see”, or to hear, such a music in a concert was for me very impressive. What I remember is not the music, but the event, like a happening.

[JP] And when did Darmstadt “come”?

[LF] In this period. It was about 1953–1955. There I met everybody, especially Stockhausen, Nono, John Cage, and of course Pousseur and all the others. But the most important were Stockhausen and Cage.

[JP] By that time, you were already composing. Can you tell me about your early musical work? Who was Luc Ferrari at that time? What were you trying to do?

[LF] I tried to make music with the means I knew. At that time I knew musique concrète and serialism. Both were introduced in my early writing experience. I wrote for piano and this music was influenced by the articulation of Bartók. This kind of technique, noise, and rhythm was for me very important. For example, I mixed Bartók, Schoenberg and musique concrète.

[JP] Did you perform your piano music yourself?

[LF] Yes.

[JP] So you were also a pianist.

[LF] I was a good pianist, at least for me and my friends, and I wanted to make a career as a pianist of contemporary music. But, it was not possible for me to do everything [laughter] and, given the choice, I preferred to compose.

[JP] I know the feeling… At Darmstadt you met John Cage. This was a major impact in your life, much stronger than the serial composers of that time.

[LF] Yes, because he was completely different from all the rest. Darmstadt was a big family around an æsthetic, around the serialism of Boulez, Nono, Berio, Pousseur, Stockhausen. It was a kind of agglomeration around a style and the idea of making music according to calculation and the necessary structure to realise a work which had to be perfect in its form. John Cage’s arrival put away the structures and styles, and proposed something with nothing… For me this was absolutely crazy. [Laughter]

[JP] Is it then really true that when he was playing around the piano with noises and effects of all sorts, everybody started laughing?

[LF] Yes. Because, it was very funny…

[JP] And they didn’t take him very seriously, I suppose.

[LF] Well, he himself was very serious, of course. The relation between these people and John Cage was very ambiguous and complex. Probably, they thought John Cage was somebody very interesting, but they couldn’t grasp him.

[JP] … because his musical concepts were too novel for them.

[LF] Yes.

[JP] I personally think that this conflict between Cage and these people has always remained. Even after Darmstadt, I believe it remained ambiguous. That’s why I find interesting what you’ve just said. Did you keep in touch with John?

[LF] Yes. At this time I was very happy to talk to him and we had a very good time together. He was with David Tudor, who was also crazy. [Laughter]

[Brunhild Meyer] You had a very friendly relationship with John Cage.

[LF] Yes.

[JP] Did you keep in touch with him until his death?

[LF] Yes. But what was so curious and attractive for me was that this man could both walk around the piano and write serial scores, but also write a piece such as Sonatas and Interludes which had nothing to do with serialism. For me it was fantastic: the lesson of freedom! Why being prisoners of a style or a technique? Why being prisoners of an ideology? That was for me the beginning, because I do think that ideology is a reduction of life.

[JP] And I think this comes through very well in your own work. You are not a typical composer in the traditional sense of the word. You do so many other things; I think this is perhaps your main characteristics as a composer: this openness, this open-mindedness. And that has made you unique in your own way.

[LF] Yes, probably… I was very attracted by the kind of distance between the styles and was very shocked in Darmstadt, for example, when Maderna played one of his works in which a tonal chord occurred and suddenly it was a scandal. Because it was not possible in that ideology to allow a tonal triad to sound. And I was so shocked by that! Because I find a tonal chord very beautiful.

[JP] You obviously went your own way. You understood what you didn’t want to do and clarified to yourself what you wanted to do.

[LF] I made experience with serialism and I wrote some very serial music. After that, I made music like serialism, but without serialism [laughter] and without technique.

[JP] Can you give me an example?

[LF] For example Visage 1 for piano is really serial, but in the same year I wrote another piece called Lapidarium which is not serial at all, but it shows the same attitude, the same look.

[JP] This is a tricky question: what is the drive, the impulse that urges you to conceive and write music? I could put it in simpler terms: why do you write music?

[LF] At this time it was very difficult for me to formulate this. I had the necessity to create something, to bring something out of me. Why? I think it was like expressing my vitality, the desire to live, through music.

[JP] A real impulse, then, as I said.

[LF] Yes. When I didn’t write music I was unhappy. And it is still the same now. [Laughter]

[JP] When did you meet Brunhild?

[LF/BM] In 1958.

[JP] Luc, how important are for you extra-musical themes as sources of inspiration for your musical creativity?

[LF] The visual aspect is very important. I was always “visual.” I had much interest in painting, plastic, literature and society. All that for me was an exploration of what is the contact between myself and what I see, what I understand about people and life. That includes society at large and also a more intimate level such as the love for someone I met. Probably, my first inspiration was not musical; it was an interpolation between something, my ability to imagine the sound and the ability to observe.

[JP] Can you give me an example?

[LF] No. [General laughter] No, because it is so different. I see, for example, a 12th century Italian painting in a museum — maybe a Christ with something else in the picture — and suddenly I have a musical idea. But I have absolutely no interest about religion. I have never been interested in Christian mythology, but it is possible to get ideas out of these things because I see some kind of repetition, some kind of connection between the colour, the form, the sense of motion and the expression of the characters in the painting.

[JP] Do you perceive music in terms of colour, like Messiaen?

[LF] No, because sound for me is only sound. But the composition, and the way how it is organised, is philosophy. Philosophy, intimacy, psychoanalysis: all that is around expression.

[JP] The most obvious characteristic of your electroacoustic music is narrative. In works such as the Presque rien series (1970, 1977, 1989), Music Promenade, Unheimlich Schön you are proposing an acousmatic situation where a story is being told and heard upon a certain fragment of time. It’s cinema for the ears. Can you tell me: why narrative? Why were you so interested in narrative?

[LF] I am not always involved with narrative. Sometimes I find it very interesting to deal with it. It is a means to say something through the music, through something quite abstract and to say it without words. It’s like speaking about philosophy. The second thing is how to learn about chronology, because time is something that always passes. If I agree with this idea, I can follow the time with a chronology. The chronology is a way to make a narration of something, not concrete narration (that can be complete abstract narration). Sometimes it is only the narration of the time, and that is chronology!

[JP] What about the word? The spoken word seems to play such an important role in these works. What does it mean to you?

[LF] In this kind of music I don’t need written words. I don’t use literature. I use the sounds I meet as I use them as objet trouvé, by chance, like John Cage did.

[JP] What about the semantic of those sounds, those words?

[LF] When you make a recording sometimes you get something interesting and at this moment one word can have a semantic. But one word is a voice and the voice has its semantic. It is the meaning of the sound, the word, when something is crossing. It is a direct connection with the inner dimension. I mean a direct connection with the psychology and intimacy, and that is form me the semantic of the objet trouvé. James Joyce speaks about that — I can never find out in which of his books I read it, but he speaks of this image of he standing at the door whilst people are passing by and speaking, and he can just capture three words. He calls that epiphany. I do the same with the microphone. James Joyce was very important for me when I was very young, in my twenties. Also important where the surrealists.

[JP] What about Beckett?

[LF] Beckett came later.

[BM] … but very important.

[LF] Oh yes…very important.

[JP] Yet, in some of these works you have touches of instrumental gestures as sound insertions within your landscapes, as if to remind us that everything we hear is music… Was this your intention or is it only my interpretation?

[LF] I didn’t know if for me it was really important to say whether it is music or not. I only knew that I am a composer when I do that! [Laughter] But with what do I compose? Do I compose with reality? I mean, with the natural sounds I hear in our environments? It is not the same as writing for the orchestra! In Presque Rien No. 1 there is almost nothing to write. I am only interested to see what happens when time passes, what happens to me at this moment in time.

[JP] What about the insertion of acoustic instruments in Music Promenade?

[LF] Music Promenade is completely different. It is an agglomeration. It does not want to tell anything, nor give a specific image. But to create a resemblance of an image by putting together different images, such as social images, noises, etc.

[JP] Are they all equally important? Is a noise for you as important as a clarinet sound?

[LF] Yes. No hierarchy! [Laughter] And I think Music Promenade is a kind of portrait of what is possible to see and hear about society.

[JP] I told you earlier, when we were in the studio, about my impressions of your work Unheimlich Schön. This work was written in 1971. I was struck by the radicality with which you were working on that piece. I think it is music for the mind, a music without compromise. Those words that gradually become sounds through the disintegration of the semantic. How do you see it?

[LF] The semantic is not where we think to find it. The semantic is not in the word. “Unheimlich schön” is only an expression — as you know, in English it means “awfully beautiful.” It is, in itself, an expression without interest. [Laughter]

[JP] Somebody seems to disagree here…

[BM] [Laughter]

[JP] I disagree, as well, actually… [General laughter]

[LF] The semantic is in the woman who speaks it in the piece, I think. It was a girl in Baden-Baden with whom I worked in the studio. She always used to say “Oh, unheimlich schön” and I found that very beautiful; I found beautiful the way how she was saying that and the sound of the words. So I got the idea to make a piece with only these two words, and I decided to record it within a limited time of 20 minutes. I arranged one microphone for the voice and one or two microphones for the breathing of the girl. The techniques consisted in capturing an alternation of the voice and the breathing.  I gave her several signals as to when to speak. The waiting from one signal to another was for her a very emotional experience, as she didn’t know when I would have given her the next signal. The emotion was very important. And I played with this psychological situation. I gave the signal and some other times I didn’t… At the end, we then added some filtered to the recording.

[JP] That’s what you said to me earlier: it’s a real-time recording. There is no double or multi tracking.

[LF] No, only one stereo. After that I had to take away some microphones noises.

[JP] Why the preoccupation with the sensuality of the body?

[LF] Because it is the most important thing. We have nothing without sensuality. We are cold, warm, we can always see, hear, taste and touch. Clothes are impermanent sensations on the skin. The body is always a permanent sensation. When I sit, I feel my legs, my fingers. I feel all. Images come through my head into my body. It’s the same with music. All that constitutes the most important aspect of our situation, because when we are cut off from sensuality there is no life anymore. Maybe that is death. I don’t know… When I speak about the clothes, I speak of a minimal sensuality: it is not very interesting. How is it possible to make more of that? To make more of that is to play with our sensuality. And I think the creation has a direct connection with the sensuality. Even if somebody said “I am completely abstract” or “I am completely cold,” I think it is not true. It’s not possible! It’s not human! The human being is very sensual. All turns around it: sexuality, pleasure, barbarism, violence, society, politics… All that is enclosed in this globality.

[JP] Imagine you were now speaking to a class of students…

[LF] [Laughter] … I cannot imagine… [LF/BM Laughter]

[JP] … students who have never heard your music…

[LF] I am perfect for that! [General laughter]

[JP] You haven’t only written electroacoustic music…

[LF] No!

[JP] Not at all. But many people, particularly the young ones, tend to associate you with musique concrète. How then would you present your total musical and artistic creativity to them? You have written so much chamber and orchestral music, for example, but also Hörspielen (radiophonic programmes), films, videos, and I think that all these genres are for you no lesser important than musique concrète or acousmatic music. Are all these activities equally important and all aspects of the same art, or do you make a distinction?

[LF] No. I think that for me everything is composition. Composition is not only a musical activity. Composition can be a film, for example. Composition and creativity is the same! When I make a Hörspiel, I compose. I must have a concept, a feeling, a sensuality, a sense of time and constriction, and so on. But the ingredients are not the same. For example, the ingredients of Presque Rien no. 1 were not the same as the ingredients of the orchestral music of the same year. But there is the same energy and dynamic at work.

[JP] And you have never had a problem to cross over from one activity to another, or from a genre to another?

[LF] No. On the contrary! Because it’s a process of vivification. Maybe it is like chance, random, as if one thing comes from the other. Maybe one orchestral piece derives from a work of musique concrète. There is a desire to change, to move an idea from one genre or activity to another.

[JP] What are you writing at the moment?

[LF] I am working on a kind of report. We recently travelled through Arizona and I recorded everything. I did it for a project with the Dutch radio. I said to them that I was going to travel through the South-West of the US and that I would give them my recordings for a Hörspiel. They said that it was a very good idea. Now I am producing it in the studio. It’s like a poem dealing with nature and society.

[JP] When is it going to be broadcast?

[LF] In November, in Amsterdam.

[BM] They will make a public concert out of it.

[LF] It’s in three episodes, 30 minutes each. And always the same construction, but with different ingredients. It’s very curious.

[JP] How would you describe your compositional techniques both acoustic and electroacoustic throughout your entire output? It seems that your many compositional techniques must be very dissimilar.

[LF] I have no technique. Only intuition.

[JP] You work only with intuition… Are you saying that the technique is the result of your intuition?

[LF] Well, the result of intuition is the result of, maybe, experience, but not technical experience, rather the ability, the address. Probably, I hate technique… [thinking] … No! I don’t hate technique!

[BM] You don’t hate technique if it works… [LF/BM Laughter]

[JP] How do you perceive and consider pitch in your electroacoustic works?

[LF] Very important! Very important! Because it is sound: high or low. By using pitch, it is possible for me to create harmonies between different noises. Imaginary harmonies with imaginary pitch.

[JP] Is pitch for you, then, as important as timbre?

[LF] Yes. But not in the conventional term.

[JP] When you hear a word or phrase — somebody talking, for example — do you perceive it as a pitch?

[LF] Also, yes. But not like a note or a chord. With your voice, for example, I can find some noise and then associate pitch with it. I do that all the time. Sometimes it is beautiful and sometimes ugly. With pitch you can also make something very ugly… That’s very interesting.

[JP] How far do you hear sounds in your mind? Do you actually hear sounds in your mind, or do you choose your sound at a more conceptual level?

[LF] Sometimes in my head I can hear the music I want to create and try to follow it. It’s like a film. In my head I can hear something: after that, to put it into music is more difficult. It’s much simpler to hear it in my head. I can also hear timbral combinations in my mind.

[JP] Do you think it is still possible to create new sounds? Sounds which have been so far unheard? Or do you think that our palette of sound has been fully exploited?

[LF] I think it is possible to create new sounds with electronics. There is always a new technique that gives you the possibility to create new sounds. I don’t think there are limitations. The limits may be in the use of technology and merging the new with the old. But to have new sounds is not really an important preoccupation. In any case, there are surely possibilities to create new sounds.

[JP] What does humour mean to you? Somewhere you have written, I quote: “I use derision to avoid the serious.” I have read it recently, in The Wire, a British magazine…

[LF] [Hesitation] Derision is something different from humour…

[JP] I know… that’s why I am asking you this question. I would like to know what you exactly mean.

[LF] Derision is necessary to take a place in life. We are serious and at the same time we are not serious. That is a total ambiguity. If I am totally serious, I am God, and God is not interesting for me.

[JP] What about a god that is not serious? Would that be interesting to you?

[LF] No… I think that… [hesitating]…

[JP] … that it is still a god?

[LF] Yes. [Laughter] Seriousness is also an idea of power and hierarchy. Seriousness also implies to be into an ideology, which means to be in the right. Be serious is to be right, to be in the right. That means that the others are not in the right, that they are wrong. Derision is the best weapon to fight this idea. Derision as in taking a place in society and in obtaining a balance between the serious and the possibility to exercise self-criticism. Derision is also a game, a very interesting and very serious game, in that it puts yourself into difficulties. I always use derision in my life, in my appearance, in my career…

[BM] [Laughter] … you’ve never used this word. [Meaning “career”]

[LF] No. I mean, in my artistic work.

[JP] Have you ever been politically active? I think that a lot of what you are saying is political.

[LF] I try to be like that. But if you mean being involved in a political party: no!

[JP] What do you think about the general social and political situation both in the world and in France? How do you perceive contemporary life?

[LF] I am terrified! Terrified by the violence and the stupidity. It may sound pretentious to say that something is very stupid, but I see that all the time! And that is terrible. It’s very difficult to keep humour in the middle of all this barbarism. It’s very evil. When we see the violence and barbarism so near us or anywhere else, I ask myself what is there inside the human being? What are you? One day we are so friends and tomorrow I kill you. We experience this all the time! What is it that makes human beings like that? Because these people are like me, and maybe I am like that! It’s terrible.

[JP] Potentially, we are all like that.

[LF/BM] Yes…

[JP] Do you ever think of the future, for example, of life in 50 years time?

[LF] No.

[JP] What about music? Do you envisage a music of the future? Do you have any idea of which ways music may go, how it will develop?

[LF] No. I think only of the moment. It is very difficult for me to imagine the future. It’s not my job! My job is to be active now and to try and keep my identity, imagination, intuition and sensuality… [Laughter]

[JP] And you are trying to achieve that through your artistic work?

[LF] Yes, I am.

[JP] Would you like if people would get a sense of that by listening through your music? Or, more emphatically, do you have a message?

[LF] No. I have no message. But I think it’s possible to smell something. It is possible to reflect. It is not my intention to give a message because it is the contrary of derision.

[BM] No. But I think you will say that it’s possible that people will find some kind of message in your music…

[JP] …the smell…

[BM] … even if you don’t want to send any message.

[LF] Yes… but the word is not message. It is according sensitivity, I should say… and that’s quite normal.

[JP] By the same token, you don’t think that composers have a role, do you? I mean, the idea that composers have to convey something positive, or some kind of message to the world. Do you think in those terms?

[LF] Not exactly. I think that creation, composition, and so on, causes a problem: it’s very complex! This problem gives us the possibility to make a reflection. That is the contact with the audience! This problem may be active in that it instigates reflections, maybe about everything, maybe about derision, the poor, or things like violence and love. That is not a message. It’s a role.

[JP] Have you ever thought that your music may have a social or political impact on the audience?

[LF] [Hesitating] … I don’t know! In fact, my audience is very small! [Laughter] I don’t know if I have an impact on my audience. When I write a composition I think about that. I don’t work in abstraction, I work in the concrete. I think about people who can hear that, and I try to hear like that.

[JP] But you write what you want, anyway.

[LF] Oh yes!

[JP] You don’t write to please the people.

[LF] No, no! It’s only that I am obliged to listen with other ears to what I am doing.

[JP] This year you will be 70. How do you perceive being 70?

[LF] Very badly!

[JP] You don’t like it…

[LF] No!

[JP] Why not?

[LF] Because it’s old age!

[BM] … because he is too young for that! [Laughter]

[JP] You are certainly very young and fresh in spirit!

[LF] Yes. But it’s not the same. I prefer being 50.

[JP] How do you see the rest of your life and artistic creativity?

[LF] I don’t think about that. I am really active for the sake of the moment, being involved in the projects that I like to do and having to work without pressure. I want to continue writing.

[JP] Has Brunhild been important in your artistic life?

[LF] [Emphatically] Very important! [Laughter]

[BM] Really?

[LF] Yes!

[JP] Can you tell me a little bit more about that?

[LF] Well, first of all she is a woman — that is very important! We have lived together for a very long time. We share many things together and speak about what we do. We also collaborate on joint projects. She also does many things for me, which is very helpful, of course. In life it is very important to be together.

[JP] 40 years is a long time.

[LF] But I don’t think like that. I know the date of when we met, but I don’t calculate.

[BM] … because of your age.

[LF] I don’t know her age. I don’t know my age. It’s only because I am 70 that suddenly I know… but previously I didn’t know. Some people — like you did — tell me: “But you are seventy and you must see the reality.” And I don’t like that!

[JP] Are you afraid to die?

[LF] I don’t think so. But probably, yes. I am afraid of old age. Losing your energy and becoming weaker… and the feeling to lose something.

[JP] So you are a philosopher, aren’t you?

[LF] Amateur. [General laughter]

[JP] But a good amateur!

[LF] I don’t know. [Laughter]

[JP] Is there anything else you would like to say?

[LF] Maybe we can eat something…

[JP] Good idea.

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