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MJ: "We have an instinct on how it should go, don't we? From that first look at the score, then the first play through - you get the idea.' MA: 'Depending on the composer and on the piece, we can become a bit jaded in our familiarity before we approach the score. This can be unfortunate, but I find the greatest joy I have is when I am preparing an unfamiliar piece - I don't have anything to fall back on and I'm approaching it as something really new: "Oh, I haven't heard this in the halls for the last 20 years!" That, for me is very refreshing.'

Mark's last Liszt disc contained late works like 5 Kleine Klavierstucke and the Mephisto Waltz No 3. He didn't know them at all. 'I think you get wonderful aspects of interpretation when you are not jaded.' MJ: 'I haven't played Beethoven for a long time, and suddenly I've started performing one of the Op 27 Sonatas and thinking "Why haven't I been playing this piece? It's absolutely brilliant." That's because it had a long enough rest and I'm also not teaching it to anybody, which means I'm not having to hear it thundered around the room all week!'

For quite a few pianists, every time they play a work like Brahms Piano Concerto 1 it becomes a new experience. MJ: 'That may be something to do with the quality of the music - with the real masterpieces you can go on and always find something new, and your view of them changes.' MA: 'It's never the music's fault, unless we're talking about something which is third or fourth rate. But not with what are considered to be the masterpieces.'

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Copyright © 12 September 2000 Bill Newman, Edgware, UK





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