The progrum on this CD is only a part of the concert which I played on August 27,1997, for the members of EPTA's(European Piano Teachers Association) annual congress in Subotica, Yugoslavia. Since I was asked to perform on short notice, there wasn't enough time to plan the progrum, and I announced it form the stage, piece by piece, at the same time sharing some of my thoughts on the music with the audience. This created a wonderful feeling of spontaneity and a sense of the occasion. However strange the word "inspiration" might sound to our technicallyminded ears of today, this aesthetic ideal, sought ahter by the Romantic composers and performers, was present that evening in the concert. keeping in mind that I was going to play for an audience consisting mainly of piano professionals, I decided to select more familiar repertory - works by Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, and Liszt.

Probably there isn't a composer whose life and work has generated such a sense of mystery as Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849). Generations of pianists and scholars have spent their lives trying to solve the riddle of this veritable Sphinx, and yet, who could claim to have divined the secret of interpretation of his works, full of paradoxes - simple yet complex, meaningful yet formal, brilliant yet poetic, brutal yet tender, intellectually controlled yet wild?

Chopin's works performed in a big hall pose a challenge - either they can sound too subdued, or, if projected in an exaggerated manner, their delicate total balance might easily become distorted. Probably they sound best when performed in the smaller rooms they are meant for, and I enjoyed performing Chopin in Subotica's Assembly Hall with its cozy dimensions.

Two Impromptus, Opp.29 and 36, belong to the category of works where content dominares form, although Chopin was always very form - conscious. The interpretive freedom should be more apparent in these works, leaving the impression of being improvised on the spot. While the first Impromptu's ineffable capriciousness unfolds towards a more sober central section, only to reappear obviously unaffected by it, the Impromptu in F#, with its more ambitious design - a mixture of ballade, chorale, march, and etude - relentlessly follows the inner logic of a fable.

The Polonaise in C-minor always brings to mind the words of an old lady I met a long time ago in Warsaw: "...this is a mourning of the Polish nation..." The melody of sorrow, Pride, and defiance is accompanied by the funereal bell-like figure. The central section, with its bitter-sweet childhood memories, reminds me of the sentence from Chopin's letter to a friend shortly before his death: "...I can hardly remember how people sing in my motherland..."

The Polonaise in F# minor is Chopin in his most patriotic mood, telling us tales of war, chivalry, elegance, love, and terror. It introduces a novelty: a Mazurka at the core of the Polonaise, like a delicate flower in a storm.

The Sonata in B♭ minor is one of chopin's most inspired and suggestive works. From the opening motto, the "Ur-motiv", a unique series of metamorphoses takes place, from the heroism of the first movement to the grotesque-macabre of the second, then from the sublime and ethereal world of the third movement to the nihilistic irony of the last. All this follows one principal idea which every performer has to discover for himself. Chopin never again reached such a peak of the feeling for human drama.

Versatility and overabundance mark the whole life of Franz Liszt(1811-1886). To be a performer, composer, conductor, writer, teacher, organizer, and man of the world, several ordinary lives would hardly suffice. Yet he managed all this, sometimes at the expense of leaving things unfinished or sobject to multiple later revisions. The Fantasy on two themes from Mozart's Marriage of Figaro is a case of the former - planned for his Berlin concerts in the early '40s of the last century(and probably performed), it remained unfinished. This was typical of a genius for whom it would take less effort to improvise a masterwork than to sit and write it down on paper. Busoni restored the piece, and after all this, I didn't find it too sacrosanct to withstand the temptation of adding some touches of my own to this Frankenstein of a work. Nevertheless, the piece has a wit, charm, and drive, similar to its counterpart, the Don Giovanni Fantasy, and shows ingenious twists of creative imagination.

The last piece on this CD is the once all-popular Grand Gallop Chromatique. During his touring years, Liszt used to end almost every concert with it. As a pyrotechnic piece, it is brilliantly written and its old charms still work on modern audiences. In his striving for higher artistic ideals later in his life, Liszt might have been disinterested and even embarrassed with this kind of work, but nevertheless, the Grand Gallop Chromatique remains a fascinating example of piano virtuosity of the Romantic era, when artistic ideals of the sublime and the grotesque coexisted side by side.