About interpretation, life and experiences…


I will never listen and play Chopin the same way after the summers I spent in Nohant, when I was 10 to 15. Walking in the garden of the castle, enjoying its atmosphere, listening the sounds of the birds and of Chopin’s music played during the festival… in the same place as he himself wrote these masterworks. What a luxury! Besides, as I discovered most of his music during those summers, so I can even say that it reminds me that magical place.



What is my point with this statement? It is maybe, once more, to complain about the musical education given at conservatories and universities. I would say that everything is too academic; the soporific hours at history of music class don’t really get the students into the personal lifes and feelings of the composers. Honestly, how can you play De Falla or Albeniz if you have never been to Spain? Ravel and Debussy if you don’t know the Seine landscapes and if you have never seen a Monet? Brahms if you can’t understand the Sehnsucht, typical from Northern Germany due to its depressive weather? Liszt or even more Bartok if you have never been to central europe? Mozart if you don’t know Salzburg and Vienna? The list is boundless.

Children during the first years are too focused on the technical aspects of the instrument and on music theory – that’s probably why many of them quit so early. I’m sure they don’t even get to understand that playing an instrument is expressing a state of mind.
Then, getting to a higher level of studies, we are just prepared to make exams and competitions, having unuseful lessons about acoustic (who cares?), boring lessons about musical forms, but nothing, nothing bringing us nearer to the composer’s spirits.

I’m not saying that we should go around the world to be able to be musicians, it is impossible. I just think the musical education should focus aswell on making the student discover where and how the pieces they practice 6 hours a day have been written; organize some trips a few times a year to some important cities and places related to music history; give the student free entrances to the museums and to venues at the theater, opera, concerts…

Enough said, I have to go to practice. But sometimes, better go for a walk and get our spirits invaded by the beauty of nature or the aura of a city during a summer night; composers got their inspiration from their everyday’s life, why shouldn’t we?

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Classical Network
    juin 02, 2012 @ 18:47:33

    I always wondered how people from an other civilisation, as asiatic people or arabic people, can play our music. When I wrote my master-thesis I read Lang-Lang autobiography and I still wonder how I could play our music being so far from us. A lot of these people come to Europa or America to study and they can better understand the atmosphre, but anyway. And, nevertheless, some can play very well…

  2. Don Elmendorf
    juil 12, 2013 @ 16:32:06

    The creation, performance, significance, and even the definition of music vary according to culture and social context. Music ranges from strictly organized compositions (and their recreation in performance), through improvisational music to aleatoric forms. Music can be divided into genres and subgenres, although the dividing lines and relationships between music genres are often subtle, ^..,^

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