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Le Matin (Switzerland)
Friday, September 16, 2011

translated from French

Tori Amos: "I was angry."

by Miguel Cid

Tori Amos flirts with the classic and made singing her daughter in "Night of Hunters."

Tori Amos cultivates the art of surprise. The elusive chanteuse of pop returns to stores with "Night of Hunters", an album of classical inspiration, a style that fits her like a glove. Surrounded by a Polish string quartet and wind instruments, her languid and crepuscular piano songs diverge from their inspiration: the themes of Schubert, Bach or Erik Satie. In the tradition of this eccentric American's conceptual albums, Night of Hunters features a dying love story set to mythological resonances. We met in a London hotel.

How did the idea of this album come to pass?

My new label, Deutsche Grammophon, contacted me and proposed that I compose a collection of modern songs on classical themes. It has been a gigantic project that has required a lot of research, dedication and sleepless nights. But I do not see this as a work, it is natural for me.

This foray into classical music is somewhat of a return to your roots, no?

I was reluctant to revisit my classical roots because I still have painful memories of my childhood, when I was expelled from the conservatory. I was angry with their way of teaching. The teachers were competent but uninterested in any other type of music, except perhaps Jazz, but they had an air of superiority. I was discouraged from composing classical music on the basis that women could not compete with Bach, Beethoven and Brahms. Pop, however, welcomed women and I rushed into its breech.

Was it a different experience leading classical musicians rather than a rock group?

Yes, because that everything must be notated and it is not open to improvisation. When dealing with musicians of the calibre of the Berlin Philarmonique or the Apollon Musagète Quartet, the level is very high and they require complicated arrangements. The arranger was thrilled because usually he has to simplify everything when writing for the world of pop.

Your daughter, Natashya, is only 11 years old but she's already sang duets with you on a handful of titles. Why did you make this choice?

I am preparing a musical for the British National Theatre and this taught me to compose for characters other than those I played on my albums. Tash seemed perfect to be the voice of Anabelle, one of the protagonists of the album. She wants to become an actress and is studying at the Sylvia Young Theatre School, a school of the performing arts. I warned her: If you want to be an artist, you must be willing to be criticized every day of your life.

Your niece also sang on the title track. This CD is a real family affair!

Many of my family members and friends would have loved to have been included on the album. My father the minister even proposed to open my next concert at the Royal Albert Hall. He's 82 years and he raps! I politely declined his proposal. I can't include everyone on my albums! When I put on the producer's hat, I can be bloody.

You have changed labels several times in recent years.

I collect labels like Elizabeth Taylor collects husbands! I also plan to develop my own label so that young artists don't have to sign the terrible contracts, contrary to their musical vision, that they are offered today.

Can your Swiss fans see you on stage soon?

Yes, I will be in concert at KKL in Lucerne on October 24th.


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