"The last romantic pianist …" died in the 20th century.
So who is left? Aren’t we mostly playing, hearing, and promoting some sort of romanticized music and style in the 21st century? Who are then the septua-, octo-, and nonagenarian great pianists alive today "… the last modern pianists?"
And who are we then and our pianistic children? Not classical, nor romantic, nor modern pianists!
The future will term the next incarnation of our profession, pursued at institutions and promoted by agencies:
"The classical romantic pianist impersonator"
The corn field will be pleased.
Virtuosity is an acquired special ability. The discipline and desire necessary to acquire a special ability of the complexity of an indomitable piano virtuoso is nearly beyond human capacity. So is the result. It takes 10,000 hours under the guidance of insightful methodology or intuition.
The absolute virtuoso is one who seems to transcend the general understanding of human potential. But he doesn't transcend human potential - he only fulfills it. The apparent superhuman phenomenon of any acquired special ability - think chess grand master, olympic athlete, virtuoso instrumentalist, etc. - is not a gift, not a blessing, but the result of arduous and focused lifetime of work.
To be more than a virtuoso one must apply the same dedication to the artistic journey, the mastering of musical language and expression.
"To be more than a virtuoso, one has to be a virtuoso first."
Vladimir Samoylovich Horowitz (1903 – 1989)
7.1: Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man Kunst erschaffen.
7.1: Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must create art.
Such a short distance from a great to a mediocre performance in the hands of a good pianist! The communicative experience of an interpretation depends only 20% on execution and 80% on character and concept.
Execution ability is only the top of the iceberg.
An educated artistic soul is the submerged part.
Expressive desire is the water the iceberg comes from.
How can we dare to aspire to an ideal interpretation of a masterpiece composition? The Flea Waltz perhaps, but Bach, Beethoven, Brahms? How can we contribute to a masterpiece so much greater than even the composer? When are we ready to make an absolute choice in interpretation?
A priori we must aspire to an infinite technique and a sage's understanding of music. We must base our aspiration on the knowledge of context and clean observations of the score with a minimum of interpretation ~ that provides a platform for true personal discovery. Our emotions are of course the driving force in this endeavor, expression not a goal but the premise of musical practice, and our personality will, by our choices, inevitably be present in our interpretations. We must choose with the wisdom of a cultivated intuition and boldly stand behind our interpretation with the conviction that our interpretation could hold as a universal example to all ~ in the sense of Kant's categorical imperative.
„Handle so, daß die Maxime deines Willens jederzeit zugleich als Prinzip einer allgemeinen Gesetzgebung gelten könne.“
“Act in such a way that the maxim of your will may at all times also hold as the principle of a universal law.”
Immanuel Kant (1724-1804)
Art is not a shadow of the material world ~ it is a prismatic projection of the ideal world, of truths on which all other truths are founded!
A perfect technique without purpose is aimless.
In ikebana-do, tactical team sports, warfare, hiking, chess, a date, or a jam session one is engrossed in the moment, but simultaneous recognition of and preparation for the imminent future, as well as the concept and planning of short, mid, and long-term events are also taking place. Attentionscape. Xin. Flow. This state enables ones attention to shift in-between these multitude of aspects and organize and reorganize decisions and actions while at the same time witnessing the simultaneity of all these levels in concërt.