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Better Be Original

I have been thinking of the basics of interpretation a lot recently. You sometimes hear the argument: “better be original”, meaning that originality should be the first and foremost quality in your musical activities, be it choice of repertoire or your way of playing. While I'm more inclined to agree with this in regard to the choice of repertoire, I'm a bit suspect when it comes to the question of interpreting your piece of music. And yes, before you put me off as an utterly conservative, narrow-minded jerk lacking any imagination, hold on! It might not quite be the agenda I'm trying to put on you now...

If you ask me, being original is the first prerequisite to create art at all! Now the question here is, what do you mean by originality? Everyone of us is a unique blend of different traits and energies, which make our so called “personality”. If we play our music as naturally and lively as we speak, we will automatically project that unique blend to our environment, thu…
Letzte Posts

Twitter And The Art of Listening

Sometimes during the 80s and early 90s, as Compact Disc had made a breakthrough, people started wondering if this means an end to the concert institution. All of a sudden, the market was pumped up with great recordings which became cheaper and cheaper to buy. It was easy to gather a collection of hundreds, even thousands of records. So, who would bother going to Haitink and Concertgebouw when they already have Haitink and Concertgebouw in their shelves with Perlman as soloist.

But people still go to concerts. How come?

Well, first of all, concerts are social happenings and they include certain interaction in comparison to listening at home. Few of us start clapping enthusiastically after a wonderful, wonderful recording of "Till Eulenspiegel" comes to an end at our living rooms. So it's safe to say that interaction remains a basic human need, no matter how the world and our habits may change.

Yet our habits have changed in the way that we now communicate more (in quantity)…

About Cultural Flagships

Nordic embassies in Berlin held recently a seminar about the rôle of the cultural buildings that are being built in all the Nordic countries these days. Keynote speakers were the heads of those houses and all of them made a good job in conjuring up enthusiasm about their venues and their impact on the society around.

Only in the course of the discussion one could hear details that didn't fit in the picture: in one country, as the elections approached, virtually all the parties had made a point that as nice as the new theatre house was, they'd rather give it back to its generous donor, thank him for the past two years and close the whole thing down in order to save the money that its operating takes every year.

How should we read this? Should we conclude that classical arts are and will remain an elitist phenomenon that only a small group of people enjoy, while it takes everybody's tax money to maintain? Or should we consider them as part of nation building, as we regard sch…

Ruhe

Pfingstsonntag. Gleich morgens paar Stunden im schöstem Wetter gelaufen, richtig genossen, dann noch eine Stunde vor der Mittagspause geübt. Zur Pause fahre ich dann in den Park, überlege paar Ideen fertig und schreibe einen Blogbeitrag, so der Plan. Ja, der Plan. Wie sagte noch mal der alte Brecht: "Ja, mach nur einen Plan, sei ein großes Licht. Und mach' dann noch 'nen zweiten Plan, gehen tun sie beide nicht." Der Geist will nicht in die Ruhe kommen.

Die Ruhe, sie bedeutet Freiheit von allerlei Impulsen die unseren Geist heimsuchen. So können sie Ereignisse von außen sein (wie Menschen), genauso gut aber Gedanken, ja sogar Inspirationen die in unserem Bewusstsein kursieren. Hier sind sie aber fehl am Platze. Jedes Schaffen und jede Konzentration braucht ihren eigenen Platz, frei von anderen Sachen - genauso wie eine Pflanze ihren Platz im Licht braucht um in Ruhe wachsen zu können.

Mir scheint, ich muss die Versuchung widerstehen, mich in den Sog der abschweifenden …

April in Brazil

It has been a busy month this April. Ten days in Brazil, Recife, where we gave the premiere of Tomi Räisänen's new piano concerto "Sublunar Mechanics" with the city orchestra and Osman Giuseppe Gioia. Osman had taken enough time to rehearse with the orchestra, which is generous and seldom the case in these days. Thank that and his engagement, the complex work got a premiere of its worth. What struck me right at the outset is the hard working conditions people have there. We often think of the coldness and hard winters that Nordic countries are subjected to. Not so often regard we how hard life can be when temperatures are over 30°C all the time, the humidity reaches 90% mark daily and the conditions remain so day and night.

The more pleasant was swimming in the Atlantic Ocean, which was first time for me. Porto de Galinhas is one of the most beautiful beaches Brazil has, and Osman took me and my girlfriend as well as Tomi, the composer, with him as he and his lovely wife…

Heimat?

Auf der Autobahn Richtung Flughafen Helsinki. Nach dem dreiwöchigen Aufenthalt in Finnland, in dem Land wo ich großgeworden war, wird mir wieder deutlich, was für eine große Rolle das Lebensgefühl in unserem Alltag spielt. Plötzlich ist mir, als hätte das Leben einen anderen Rhythmus hier als in Deutschland, den Rhythmus der Sprache. Als hätte das Leben in Deutschland mehr punktierte Rhythmen, in Finnland mehr Triolen.

Bevor Sie mir einen langen Urlaub empfehlen, oder einen Besuch beim Psychiater, soll ich erläutern dass ich hierbei nur einen Versuch wage, flüchtigen Empfindungen ein Wortgewand zu verleihen bevor sie sich ganz der Wahrnehmung entziehen. Ganz wie es in dem früheren Beitrag "Talking About Music" die Rede war, suchen sich Empfindungen einen Weg des Ausdrucks, sei er mimisch, musikalisch oder Worte die Sinnbilder zu erwecken suchen.

Lebensgefühl bestimmt unser Benehmen: auf welcher Weise ich Fragen stelle beim Einkaufen, wie ich die Fragen antworte, wie ich Telef…

Talking about music

When it comes to writing about music, one of the most fascinating questions will be: Can you actually talk about music? Certainly you can talk about music's components - whatever you consider them to be (take all that analysis that helps you to grasp what your piece of art is made of). But is it, after all, possible to get hold of the essence of music by verbal means?

To answer the question we should first try to find out where to look in search of the essentials. I subscribe to the idea that music is, first and foremost, communication. Communication of what? Let's consider how our spoken language evolved in the first place in the course of the evolution (at least what some researchers suggest). First there were sounds that conveyed the most essential signals, vital to our survival and close to an instinctive behavior.

Then, big as our human brains were (in comparison to many other species that behaved similarly), this form of communication grew more sophisticated, embracing mo…