Here is a little text, that has some personal thoughts about music making.
I think it is appropriate to start this with such a text.
Facing the whiteness and emptiness of paper in front of me, I couldn't help asking myself -how many times did I try to express at least a small part of what I feel while hearing and making music? Alas, these idle musings seem to pale besides the real thing that is happening in us when exposed to this phenomenon - the art of sound.
So, this time, away with history of music and nice biographical facts about great composers of the past - they are too well known anyway, and whoever is interested could easily find them in various books and publications. Let us speak about performance, metaphysical speculations, performer's doubts , enchantments and fears.
Why does one perform in public? What could positively be a purpose of a concert today?
Sometimes it seems to me it could be an egocentric vanity that forces the artist to come onstage and display his or her gifts in front of people. Or is it an escape from reality where one can not express himself in a way that would be really satisfying? Maybe a vent for secret neurosis, inferiority complex or self-aggrandizing mania?
Let it be all of this and more, I believe there must be also a genuine love and infatuation with another world, one of beauty and invisible forms. It almost seems that there is an endless, all-encompassing ocean of music somewhere in an unknown dimension, and it speaks through mediums like composers and performers. It wishes to be expressed and manifested, and it forces poor mortals to spend their short lives trying to follow this strong impulse. This could be the reason why Bach wrote music even at his deathbed, and why performers like Rubinstein or Horszowski went onstage in their 90's or even 100's.
In contact with the inexhaustible richness of music, a performer wishes to feel, to understand, to possess, to lose himself in it. But it behaves like a phantom - it resists these attempts to be defined and deciphered - it hides and disguises itself, ever-changing and always new.
This can drive one really crazy. Chopin was notorious for desperately trying to get the "right" feeling, but he said he was satisfied with his own performances only two or three times a year. This elusive quality of his music is tempting musicians through the time again and again.
A lot had been written about instrumental "technique" . I must confess I feel a bit disturbed by our attitude to grant this title mostly to the mechanical and "sportive" aspects of a performance . Degenerated (in the original sense) , the meaning of virtuosity has changed - it is almost a dirty word today. Yet , what could be more natural for a musician than trying to produce as many different sounds as he can hear in his imagination?
When these sounds are in the service of communicating the meaning of music, then we have a real virtuosity at work. During these precious moments, even the most phlegmatic audience, one that attends concerts as a part of a "cultural ritual", to see and to be seen, even such an audience can feel that something unique and special is happening. No wonder ancient Greeks nurtured that wonderful myth of Orpheus, whose music tamed wild beasts.
This brings us to the question of the aim of interpreter. Although the factual knowledge of composer's musical habits can only help, it seems to me that the goal is not to achieve a "museum-like" correct interpretation. Music seems to be much more than an exact science. If we could know for sure how Bach performed his music, still it wouldn't make much sense to repeat it over and over in these days. If we can be true to the spirit of the composition and composer, we could express it one way or the other, the message would get through. This implies that it is not possible to "learn" the piece, because its very nature is not static but dynamic - it can not be reproduced, but rather re-created. One who is capable of translating composer's inspirations into the sound, and communicating them to his listeners, he can be called the interpreter . His task is to adorn the thoughts of composer in a multitude of new colors and to bring them forth in their original power.
When he succeeds, his delight
knows no boundaries, and for some time, he and his audience become one in a
wondrous experience of sound.