Music and Happiness
no-image, Music and Happiness
Małgorzata Wende talks to Competition Jury member Philippe Entremont about this year's "harvest" on the 7th day of auditions at the 16th International Chopin Piano Competition...
Małgorzata Wende talks to Competition Jury member Philippe Entremont about this year's "harvest"
Małgorzata Wende: You're on the Chopin Competition Jury for the first time...
Philippe Entremont: ... and I'm extraordinarily pleased at the invitation, even though I'm not a fan of music competitions! But this is the most important piano competition in the world. To be a part of it in the Jubilee year is a particular pleasure and honour. With competitions, it's a bit like with a fine wine – there are good years and there are bad years. This year appears to be a good "harvest".
MW: Why aren't you a fan of competitions?
PE: Because they're not very humane, there's no room for error. Besides, there are too many competitions around. Some pianists do nothing other than go from competition to competition. This can get stale. On the other hand, a prestigious competition gives, of course, the opportunity to make a name for oneself in the world of music. There are more and more pianists, from Asia for example, and it takes a lot to break out of the crowd. In any case, I hope this year we choose someone remarkable.
MW: What do you base your judgment on?
PE: The foundation for judging a competitor accordingly is, of course, precision in the reading of a musical score. There was a time, when Chopina was played quite badly. I think we should to be attentive to the fact that today's interpretation of his music could revert to those unfortunate tendencies. For example, he can be played too quickly. A rash tempo and overuse of the pedal are the most egregious sins committed by performers of Chopin's music. In this regard, I stick to my principles. I'll never tire of Artur Rubinstein'sperformances, whom I was lucky enough to know as a friend. He played with imagination, while at the same time upholding a respect for Chopin's score, even in the most minute detail. His interpretations remain an unconquered summit. And today, everyone seems to be rushing somewhere, but that's not what music is about.
MW: How often do you play Chopin?
PE: Very often. I always say that pianists cannot live without Mozart, Chopin or Ravel. Also Debussy and Liszt. I, for one, place Chopin above them all.
MW: What advice would you give to young pianists?
PE: To learn to enjoy life the way Artur Rubinstein could. Not to hurry, not to close themselves up in the world of music. I don't consider myself a slave to music. Music is what makes me happy.
Philippe Entremont interviewed by Małogorzata Wende, October 2010.
The article comes from the Chopin Express gazette published for the 16th International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition by Adam Mickiewicz Institute and Gramophone.
View the audition recitals online at chopin2010.pl/en/competitions/xvith-chopins-competition.html
Other articles of interest in Chopin Express No. 08:
"Chopin as Teacher" Essay by Kenneth Hamilton