426 • The profound pianist played like a Buddhist monk … without any desire.

425 • Playing like a machine is not the problem.

There are beautiful, complex, fascinating, and unique machines.
Playing like a primitive, clumsy, obsolete, or assembly line machine is a problem.

424 • Necrophilianist

Full of masculine virility the enthusiastic young pianist dug up the corpse of a genius composer and violated it.

423 • Quo Vadis?

While we – contemporary pianists – believe to be wildly innovative and imaginative, we seem to be destined to imitate and recombine pre-existing interpretation traditions. Searching for new expressions in an interpretation of historical piano music (older than 90 years) by referencing contemporary culture doesn’t enrich any longer. And it seems that we permit CD recording quality, institutional competition parameters, and the emerging showmanship and branding of the second half of the 20th century as main examples to imitate in the 21st. And yet – no new paradigm setting or changing pianistic idea was contributed in the past 50 years. We are cloning from a small genetic pool. We are playing from a card deck that has no faces any longer. Why not at least make our selection for imitation more inclusive, add a few trump cards to the deck?

There is an established but compromised academic interpretation tradition today: we play Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, and many others in a quasi-romantic late 20th century tradition while trying to follow note and symbol Urtext editions. Why? We are in a castle with many ghosts and few spirits. If we are shackled in front of a cave wall, why not add a few of the old shadow-casters to behold? Short of trailblazing innovative and parameter setting interpretation approaches in the way of Gould, it should be, and actually is, our choice to interpret baroque, classical, and romantic music by imitating a multitude of traditions.

Why not interpret Schubert in the way of Liszt or Bach in the way of Busoni; or - for that matter - Liszt in the way of Busoni? How do we know their ways? We know their editions and commentary. Are they Urtext? No. Should we use Urtext? Yes. But why not - instead of to just blindly trying to obey scores - heed the insight and input of the great masters from the past and extrapolate their interpretation principles?

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422 • Children of the Corn

"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.

See: Confusing realities
See: Bling

  • A weblog of thoughts, ideas, concepts, observations, suggestions, research, methodology, discoveries, rules, exceptions, aphorisms, and secrets from pianist to pianist.
Total number of posts: 436
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