A singing instrument
MARTINO TIRIMO discusses the piano and its music with BILL NEWMAN
The centenary of Schubert's birth prompted critics to voice their opinions
on how to interpret his music. Cyprus-born Martino Tirimo proved himself
to be a master interpreter of Schubert at London's Wigmore Hall, following
this up later with more Schubert at the same venue, and a complete Sonata
cycle for EMI's Eminence label.
One London critic complained to me about Tirimo's lack of rhythm in a
particular place in the B major sonata's first movement at one of the live
'I would like to inform him that here there is a rare indication
by Schubert: sempre ritardando', Tirimo replies, 'and obviously one
doesn't play slower for about twenty bars or so. In this particular
instance it infers a form of rubato or freedom in which to relish
his key changes'. Highlighting the contrasting moods -- like Wilhelm
Kempff, when he lent into the phrase metre to extract poetic meaning.
'In order to truly appreciate Kempff in recital one had to attend several.
There would be a lot of mediocre playing, then, suddenly, there would be
one sonata or movement that was out of this world. He was generally a freer
player than me, but if he was alive today I am not so sure that he would
play quite so freely! He grew up in a totally different environment, and
there were other idols that perhaps were freer than himself, but in this
sonata he was at his best -- a natural interpretation.'
The same critic was much happier with Schubert's A minor Sonata in the
second half of Tirimo's programme. 'You know, the mark of a good critic
is going to a concert with an open mind, and really being enthusiastic about
and in love with music. It must be very difficult when you go day after
day, but how many go with an open mind without prejudices?'
This also happens in other ways: when a pianist has played a series of
concerts, or won the Gramophone Award, prejudices are dropped and
the critics will praise irrespectively. Isn't this where criticism falls
down? 'I couldn't agree more. Your view is very refreshing'.
Copyright © 22 December 2002
Bill Newman, Edgware, UK