John Cale
Fear Is A Man's Best Friend - John Cale

The Text Files

On Dance Music

This text was written by John Cale for the premiere of the Ballet for Nico in 1997. Ed Wubbe was the choreographer.

When one is asked to write music for an abstract concept such as a choreographed Dance Work it invariably invites comparisons with known elements in the real world with which we can expect to understand the Work in fuller terms. In this case we have many strands of history with which we can add our own impressions of a Life - if that were the intention.
It is not.
Biography is best left to historians, Ballet to visionaries.

In the movements of this piece the Titles live closer to reality than the music.
As a friend of Nico’s I was very touched by Ed Wubbe’s suggestion to write music to choreography of his, and hoped to throw some light on what elements of Nico’s psyche drove a woman so succesfully captured by the world of Modelling, to abandon it to pursue a creative life in poetry and song. The name Jim Morrison comes readily to mind. Yet that may not leave every stone unturned.
As Art does not comfortably imitate life in the world of Ballet I was happy with the freedoms Ed gave me in the choice of topics and moods. In many ways an empty space would be the quintessential Nico Ballet. One remembers the many occasions she spoke of wanting to be a nothing. Zero. Luckily, she went about it the wrong way.
It is enough to speak of the respect, a certain awe, and concern for Beauty that we find in her work. Even so it feels as if it were not enough.

John Cale, september 1997

© 1999- Hans Werksman