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in conversation with BILL NEWMAN


Two fine pianists who both record for Nimbus, poles apart interpretively, might suggest a clash of personalities, but Britisher Martin Jones (MJ) and American Mark Anderson (MA) are great admirers of each other's performances as well as firm friends. Both are specialists of the romantic repertoire, Martin having recorded the complete solo repertoire of Mendelssohn, Brahms, Debussy and Grainger, Stravinsky newly released, with a mammoth album of Spanish piano music still to come; Mark has Brahms and Liszt to his credit and highly praised piano/orchestra recordings of music by Brahms and Dohnanyi. I queried with MJ whether he concentrated on score markings and the individual character of movements, or 'looked' at a work as a whole.

'The written directions, although very clear, still leave a lot of scope. When Brahms writes Moderato or Andante, 20 pianists are going to come up with different versions of that to start with. There may be a metronome marking, which is a good guide to begin with during learning stages, but often you end up adding your own.' Beethoven's and Schumann's metronomes were thought to be inaccurate. 'That's just it! It's up to you to choose a reasonable speed so you can project what you want into the music.'

From a coloristic-stylist viewpoint your Debussy sounds just right, achieved by a touch both delicate and positive at the same time. 'It sounds kind of hackneyed, but when you have an orchestral colour in mind, it's a big help. Although Debussy didn't write any orchestral indication in his piano parts, there are certain things where, if you know the orchestral works well, it gives a really good starting point.'

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Copyright © 12 September 2000 Bill Newman, Edgware, UK





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