With the impending finals of the Queen Elisabeth Competition beginning this coming Monday, I would like to invite you to join me in reflecting on the following thoughts that are so contemporary in terms of interpretation, fashions, young musicians and the world of musical marketing.
An extract from a text by Sir Colin Davis:
Nowadays interpretation follows several different trends.
There is the industry of musicians playing their ancient instruments, following the indications given on the score. In my opinion this is a nonsense. These elements do not provide us with information as to how to play the music in different epochs nor how composers supposedly wanted it to be played. One day when I was young conductor and proud of respecting the instructions given, Stravinsky said to me: “My dear boy, they actually only exist at the beginning of the score“.
On the other hand, there is an ancient musical tradition to which Arthur Grumiaux belongs. A tradition of passion for music that is particularly evident in germanic countries and also represented by soloists such as Artur Schnabel, Claudio Arrau amongst others. This is the very tradition that surpasses the impact of fashion, the artifices generated by the situation of the music industry, record market and competition between the “stars”.
Nowadays everything must happen at speed. The maturation of a piece, the maturity of a human trajectory have ceased to be poles of attraction for many young performers.
The vertiginous spiral of technological perfection and technical precision distances us from the music.
“Play Wieniawski and become a celebrity”.
Arthur Grumiaux was diametrically opposed to all this superficial facility.
In summary, thank you dear Colin Davis for dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s even if, in my opinion, the greatest Baroque musicians such as Nikolaus Harnoncourt, John Eliot Gardiner and some others also belong to the musical tradition mentioned.