Monday, January 16

Thoughts after a concert... Bach's Concerto After Marcello

Just came home from a concert where I played Bach  (Concerto after Marcello in D Minor) and Brahms (Intermezzo op.117 no 1). Brahms was more or less ok, while with Bach I felt sort of uncomfortable, especially in the first movement. I've played this piece many times in the past but only a few times did I feel that the result was satisfactory. 

What I try to do (and it's not easy!) is not to imitate Glenn Gould's performance. (from his "Italian Bach"- one of his best records, in my view). He does incredible things in this recording, yet the challenge of the performer is to develop a sense of detachment from his sound, and try to find new things and new perspectives. And yet I must admit that I am so influenced by him and so persuasive do I find his reading of Concerto after Marcello that all too often I unconsciously [and hopelessly] try to do what he does. 
Yet there is another, more subtle danger for a pianist: to try and do the opposite of what another (usually great) pianist is doing. In an effort to distance from someone else's playing, one can play things differenetly just for the sake of doing that. So, for instance, Gould plays it staccato here - I'll play legato; Richter brings out an inner melodic line- I'll try to cover it a bit. And so on... 
What's the conclusion? It's quite simple (to say it at least!): Find your self, look for your individual uniqueness, be genuine.

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