Music and Vision homepage

Pianos and Pianists - Consultant Editor Ates Orga

The Pianist Speaks:

Sergei Rachmaninov

[World-weary facade, gradual mask-like smile, deep remote-sounding voice] Interpetation demands something of the creative instinct. If you are a composer, you have an affinity with other composers. You can make contact with their imaginations, knowing something of their problems and their ideals. You can give their works colour. That is the most important thing for me in my pianoforte interpretations, colour. So you can make music live. Without colour it is dead. [Pause to gather thoughts] The greatest interpreters of the past were composers in most instances. Paganini, so we understand, was a king of virtuosity. [Slow-moving smile] But he was a composer, too. Liszt and [Anton] Rubinstein; and in our time Paderewski and Kreisler. Ah! I know what you are thinking. But it doesn't matter. It makes no difference whether these are first or fourth-rate composers. What matters is, they had the creative mind and so were able to communicate with other minds of the same order... the pianoforte of today ... is a perfect instrument. True, I cannot sing on it as Kreisler sings on his violin. But I can do many other things on my piano that are beyond the power of the greatest violinists and singers. [Article of faith] The piano is a perfect instrument.

- in conversation with Basil Maine (East Anglian essayist, biographer, novelist, music critic, organist, actor, narrator, priest), Basil Maine on Music, London October 1945

<< Pianos and Pianists homepage           Lazar Berman speaks >>