Ivo Pogorelich: I obtain data from nice composers

From an interview with Christian Berzins within the NZZaS:


Are you able to outline your perspective?

Sure. I’m not more than a servant of the composer. I’m fully happy with that, as a result of I get a variety of bonus from Beethoven or Chopin. Even when they don’t stay anymore, they ship it to me. And I’m able to mirror it.

I don’t perceive that.

On my new CD you will see the B-minor Sonata by Rachmaninoff, I’ve been enjoying it for greater than thirty years now. I had unbelievable success with it: cheers, standing ovations – every thing. However personally, I used to be by no means proud of myself. There was one thing behind seven corners that I couldn’t entry. However I wished to search out him, full the sonata for me! It took a few years. However it was not like Beethoven, once I got here to an answer. Or no less than I answered to Beethoven the questions I had requested him. That’s the bonus I talked about, which I bought from Beethoven. It isn’t one thing that falls from the sky. This makes my work simpler and makes the composer extra attention-grabbing. However I’ve to translate this bonus.

You don’t get this data from the notes?

The rating is useless and the instrument is a chunk of furnishings with out the pianist. The textual content is a part of a library – like papyrus. What ought to I do with it? I obtain the knowledge from myself. You need to interpret the textual content.

Properly, but when the composer wrote “p” for quiet, an “ff” for very loud, or “very quick,” I ought to observe that prescription.

No, that’s data that I’ve to translate. You, Mr Berzins, can purchase the sonata, the waiter there can purchase it, I can purchase it: however are all of us able to studying something out of the notes? I believe I’m able to find one thing in it whether it is Beethoven. For I’m privileged to face by its custom: in case you look again, I’m quantity 7 within the line to Beethoven – within the direct line! Quantity 5 even within the direct line of Franz Liszt! Pupils grew to become lecturers, had college students – that’s all nicely documented, together with the years. Like a certificates I carry this pedigree in entrance of me. Mine even goes again to Bach! No less than I’m quantity 12 within the line. However again to the questions of what position the artist performs! Why are we revered indirectly?

… The composers “inform” you learn how to play or translate the works. Does that imply that the composer can be the perfect performer of his works?

Under no circumstances! Composers shouldn’t be thought of as examples of how their works have to be performed. There are two causes for this: When you’re a chef in a restaurant and put together a turbot, you’re not going to eat that fish within the night, preferring a chunk of bacon. They’re fed up with this fish taste. When you, as a composer, are in a inventive course of, then overwhelm your self with feelings and ideas. Anybody with a hard and fast thought takes over! And but the query then arises as you progress from one place to a different, as you switch the composition to the listeners.

It clearly wants somebody such as you who understands the composer.

Sure, and it takes shock components that a composer now not has: however the surprises are an important factor within the work of an interpreter. The composer permits way more within the textual content than to play the work in his personal means. It’s me who interprets every thing. We musicians are revered as a result of we make investments our power to interpret one thing. Perhaps I play slightly higher than others? I have no idea, however I don’t overestimate my position. I’m solely the intermedium of Bach or Ravel.

Are there completely different performances for you? Or do you every try for a similar as doable?

None is repeatable! Give me the Elbphilharmonie for a month, I play the identical program each evening, and you’ll hear a distinct live performance each evening! I’m not an alien, however a human! A flight and a live performance are a bodily act. Yesterday I needed to play 50 minutes twice: 50 minutes alert, 50 minutes my physique needed to do one thing continually.

Is the viewers vital to you?

I play for the listeners. I want them to pay attention.


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