Saturday, May 01, 2010
I caught some of an interview with Australian violinist Elizabeth Wallfisch the other night. She was talking to Mairi Nicolson, and kept putting this interviewer clearly in her place in regard to not getting too snobby about how to play baroque music. The interviewer wanted to go along the line that one should know how the music was interpreted before one dared play it - this of course would take a great deal of research and study and many hours of not playing the music.
Wallfisch pooh-poohed all that. For her the music is a script on the page, and needs to be interpreted from the heart, not the head. She told Nicholson we can never know exactly how the music was played by the original composers; we should just be grateful that it was written down and left for us to play at all.
Wallfisch's reputation doesn't make her sound like someone who randomly plays music as she feels; on the other hand it was refreshing to hear her speak up for focusing on the music first and the academic angle second. I suspect it's music critics who like to think that music can only be played exactly how the original composer intended. Real musicians just get on and play.