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Dinu Lipatti

A few months before his death Lipatti committed some of his thoughts and ideas about music to paper - either as an essay or as some kind of lecture in a master class. These thoughts were the essence of his personal experiences as a performing artist of the most refined and divine nature - but they will certainly not be liked by everybody today.  

"It is quite wrong to think  that the music from one period or another must preserve the characteristics and even the mistakes used at the moment when the music was created. Those who think so may feel they have a clear conscience hiding behind some sort of dusty research, but they don't see that they may in fact be drowning the real issue in an abundance of prejudices and false facts.

One must never forget that true and great music reaches far beyond its own time: Bach needs a modern organ, with its many registrations, Mozart asks for the piano that decisively distances himself from the harpsichord, Beethoven demands our concert grand piano, and so does Chopin to reveal the true colors of their art. 

Therefore the wish to restore to music its earlier framework means the same as dressing an adult in adolescent clothes. This may have some idea if one aims at a historical reconstruction, otherwise it is of no interest to anybody but  lovers of dead leaves and old drivel. These thoughts came to my mind while recalling the sensation I once experienced when I played Mozart's D minor Concerto (no. 20 K. 466) at a prominent European music festival, and with Beethoven's magnificent cadenza. True, the same themes appear differently in the hands of Mozart than in those of Beethoven, but the main fact was precisely such a confrontation between two rather differing personalities. I must tell you that, aside from the most enlightened minds, many accused me of having composed this unacceptable and anachronistic cadenza myself.

Stravinsky was so right when he said "Music is the present". Music has to live under our hands, under our eyes, in our heart and mind with all that we can give. By that I am not abetting to the anarchy against the primary laws which guide  the coordination of any valid and just interpretation along some general lines. But I find that one would commit a grave mistake by searching for useless details regarding the way in which Mozart might have played a certain trill or grupetto. On the contrary, these diverse markings, interpolated into editions which are for the most part excellent compel me to decisively take the path to simplification and synthesis.

I immutably preserve these few basic principles which I think you are aware of, and for the rest I rely on intuition which  is just as important as intelligence and to a musical and intellectual penetration of the work which, sooner or later, will end up by revealing the secrets of its soul. 

Never approach a score with dead eyes or the spirit of the past because you might find yourselves only with Yorick's skull. Alfredo Casella rightfully said, that we must never respect masterpieces but love them, because we only respects dead things while a masterpiece lives forever."

Alas this lecture was probably never given but the essence of it touches the very soul of music and music making - and is almost to the word echoed by other great artists like Pablo Casals, Jascha Heifetz, Vladimir Horowitz and many other of the truly great.

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