Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Music #4

If I were to be asked what would be my greatest ambition as a Mozart player, I should reply: “Life-size Mozart.” It is so easy, in looking at Mozart from the dizzy cliffs of nineteenth-century instrumental sound, to see it as through the wrong end of an opera glass. And in holding in check the enormous resources of the modern grand piano it is easy to give the impression of walking tiptoe, lace-beruffled, on eggs. On the other side, habits of over-inflated sound and unceasing overstatement can lead to a notion of Mozart as a kind of colossus, unsuccessful perhaps because of his early death in reaching the proper size. (As a harpsichordist I am often grateful for the privilege of being able to look forward to Mozart from the other side of the eighteenth century, with fresh perceptions of his contribution to music, rather than like most of us, backwards at him through a haze of Beethoven.)

Ralph Kirkpatrick