thumbnail of A conversation with; #12 (Reel 2)
Hide -
If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+
Now here is Richard freed. Well aside from the question about your professional admiration for some of your colleagues could you tell us a little about your own general listening preferences I've noticed that a lot of well several at least if not a lot several pianist of told me that the form of music the enjoy most is opera. This is although I have heard it frequently it still surprises me. Do you have a should not I think what you said is that more of a nice challenge don't say the same and I think seven to do it I would probably it's not the same and yet it goes with being that most people have I think it is simply the fact that the instrument is basically enough to official bodies to us and the only thing we can do is out in some of these threats the most. The human voice. Is a basic obsession with an instrument that is that he should sing and I mean do the weird thing is a sort of obsession that goes constantly with an instrument to sing that's all he
needs from an instrument and it's very difficult to get. I mean he has to give the voice of that instrument and he's only responsible for it and this is where the greatest work of an instrument in schools throughout his life as a voice and everything that goes with it is the sound of the voice the warmth of it or the metallic quality of it when it's needed. And definitely the phrasing. Well then would you say that as a listener your own preference system is very close with them as you can extremely attracted by some of the Brit seniors certainly at the same blend emotionally and deeply Miss Alice may hear it. Ken is it could of course and I think she's one of the great musicians of that. What would you hope to do now. What are your plans for the future. This is very different it's a question that is double the first would be to sort of
jump into a swimming pool and be on the seashore is not my second. Taken as they have commitments so I can't and I planned already that they're definitely they said it in the sand for the next two years so I'm going back to New York after tomorrow after the recording in there and have a last concert in New York on the 30th. With the billion for the money and myself and Gary and then I go back to Europe. Body calling stations in Europe and concerts through the winter before and after the stage you're playing a bar concerto on that occasion yesterday man. What about composition you have you composed. Yes. Partly because composition is in this Russian tradition of Instrument instrument playing a definite mass. It's an obligation you cannot go through school without studying transcriptions composition regardless of your talents for you or not this is a position she's spoken of before.
Yes I think it's essential and I think everybody should definitely study composition people and I think it not only helps the next logical if you have a skeleton feeling of the work you're performing you would never do a stray however eccentric your tastes may be in music or extremely quiet and classic but I think if there is a body to what you do and you can only have this body not only intuitively but if you know exactly how a piece is constructed you cannot really be a wrong interpreter to answer your question more completely I'm not a great balls and it all I have no particularly fantastic position but I still keep on writing and they're never planning to publish and if they are certainly not writing great symphony you write it in a particular style like me would you care to write by writing what you would call. The modern medium if you can bring me back 30 years ago and there is a definite jazz influence in my writing.
I gave you a great a great pick out of wood to straighten things out. Writing for several instruments even if as I said it's never going to be performed. Do you ever put any of your own piano pieces for example. Not even as a LONG as an anchor sometimes but otherwise no. Isn't it difficult to know I should think that writing this music and orchestrating music you have no intention of having just as an exercise. Absolutely as an exercise I know the value of it this is why it's not Oh no do I look for somebody to love it because I think if you have established yourself publicly in one domain that has been not as mad with respected you have no right to throw in the public's face. Anything that is according to you less important. How many scores do you receive for study and how many of them do you find
immediately interested. Well the proportion of finding no interesting is usually for everyone I think. Very sad when it's usually 95 percent of the schools and only interesting incomplete or incoherent especially in modern ways. There is an enormous amount of sheer speculation on improvisation and ideas and they're sometimes really put together they're not at all logical thought out but I can give you an answer if it varies over the years it varies with the tourist For example there are certain countries where you see if you composers will give you the works of their own or send them to you. I should tell you seethe about 15 to 20 scores or so not those are things that you see here. You say you're interested in jazz. Did this come about after you came to New York yesterday at the Juilliard School. Yes. How did you
develop this. How extensive is this interest. Oh it is unlimited. Have you played jazz Have you performed. Not publicly of course but the joy of playing it for myself but what sort of jazz is this is also life again also your old fashioned jazz go back 30 years and play that sort of jazz which I enjoy the Duke and I have always I must say that I'm completely conditioned by two women seniors one is the mental satisfaction I get out of music or a battle for example which is it's clear as Chris that it's not as composition is concerned phenomenological. I have always been deeply attracted by intelligence and I shall be all my life both that being me recklessly intelligent not only musically. And then the other attraction is a completely primitive protection of him deeply affected by anything that has to do with harmonies. This is one of the reason why scripting is important to me.
This is definitely the main reason why jazz was important to me because I think the really important jazz is fantastic harmonic possibilities that carry this further their harmonic idea. You must be very very devoted to the music of Debussy. Do you play the prelude. Yes actually a lot of us here have any then to go the other way just for a moment. What about sugar. Because this takes you in a different and I like you really don't have an agent and you couldn't hear the I don't think it was 11 else going to be imaginative. What advice would you offer to young musicians. About the preparation for a career in music. Although the study of music what what other kinds of things one approach to the puzzle of the visualizing the basics to do music is unfortunately
absolutely personal. I will ask him directly and I think that most teachers are famous for teaching and for being excellent teachers are to my mind not very great teachers because very often it would find to the city pupils play exactly the same way. I think amenity to trace their play this is why I told you earlier I don't believe in methods there is no method to playing an instrument. There is a tradition in style. You can improve somebody but you cannot give him a basic beginning because everybody's head for example is completely different and therefore the entire psychology that goes with it physically is different. The thirst into Rhesus hand position on the keyboard for example is the most normal one and a good teacher should always try to follow that up even if it is completely natural to him. This implies fingering. Flexibility. Some hands are very heavy others are very like some people have very strong
body lead and muscularly and others are not at all. One has to find a balance for this but certainly not try to play something that is and that will because when it is so natural there will be a physical problem for the people always. Then you're going to help them withstand of course and collision but the system of how to practice how to win it has to come out of the way of the people themselves. The young man himself he has to decide for himself one day how he wants to make the rhythm of his life. As far as work is concerned development I think there is no advice you can give therefore they should but I think the most difficult thing for another it is to be able to separate completely the business angle and therefore that could be an angle. The external angle the practical angle from his inner sources and necessities. It's very difficult to do because of course it's the same man that goes through worries doubts and joys of performing and wanting to do more and to be invited.
Each year more and more in the same cities with the same office was a difficult medium I don't know the answer to question quality Probably not but it is very difficult to give any advice to anyone unless you know the exact case what they have gone through where have been their hindrances in difficulties and how you should advise them accordingly. You let me change the subject slightly. You had educational experience both in Europe and in the United States. It related to the preparation of the musician the training of the musician. How do you what is your reaction to two types of education do. How would you compare them. They're incompatible because I think I think very highly of the Juilliard School of Music By the way and some people may not believe this. And when I say that it's absolutely true I think they have it as this path they have been was not a step that have ever come across.
I should only imagine Russia as important and as I started studies I've been sent on the musical language one can get there's many possibilities of the greatest possibilities in America more so than individually in any country you know without a doubt professionally too. Basically America has at least 15 major orchestras of the has the importance in quality. And the possibility of an established career is incredible in America in Europe. You get the counter value which is as important and purely intellectual satisfaction the possibility to develop in other fields. Personality is essential because I think if you want to communicate to an audience you do not want to communicate only on the musical level that you must have a certain intellectually failing which comes through reading. Sightseeing communication with different races different people different languages
so it means that Europe is very spoiled and wonderful of course you have magnificent exhibits and wonderful intercommunication between the countries but because of course they are so small and close together. Also naturally in my particular case I was and am a European and I somehow feel more at home you know than I need to live in Europe. On the general subject of training I'm sure musicians are always being asked particularly by the concerned parents how early can one begin training I'd like to ask you instead if you think you might establish a limit in the other direction that is the holy Torah. At what age this requires a lot of generalizing I recognize but until what age do you think it isn't too late for a young person to begin from from scratch in the video. Unfortunately because you go the only handicap in between playing an instrument is the physical angle of it and it's like dancing.
You cannot start a dance it is late age even in the adolescent age but it's too late as well and I will have to phone the muscles and you really have to fold the hand before it's completely stuck. So what would constitute a late age in this country I should say next year and 12 years of age and it's very late to me. There have been exceptions of course but if one then eyes is kind to those exceptions when they tend to they always have terrible problems. Even if because they're great at this and they have they have a wonderful feeling about music it has come across to such an extent that it doesn't matter that the physical side of it is a little bit that much the input pleat How early can you start to think as early as a child wants to. The problem which of these is exactly the age of 12 to 15 or 16 when there you see talent if it is real makes and the people in the body of a young boy or young girl and it makes them feel emotions that they are all in accordance with their own age. You never
sense passion and profound feelings and emotional tensions that can be very dangerous for their own sake of development and this they can to counterbalance it with a very healthy life. Definitely school and contact with other children. I mean are they boy or girl gifted should be kept as much in the last analysis possible and certainly not be felt they would be given the feeling that there are such exceptions because then they could develop all sorts of problems that would be disastrous for the other setting. What about the fellow who has tremendous facility. This is one of the most modest qualities that are the most dangerous ones because facilities is something that should come as an extra gift. Sometimes it is treated as a basic reason for playing an instrument and that's very dangerous because it is very rare to find somebody who is being able to
control it and go into depth studies and meditation and certainly developing a real technique instead of an easy one. And we understand of the music in place. You must have heard of the actual facility at a very early age. I think most of the most pianists who perform publicly have when did you begin playing. I started in the age of three. But this is of course my mother so it was out today for you. I don't remember it. Did you develop absolute pitch did. I don't think you develop absolute pitch you may have it or not have it. I believe I have it. I haven't really been very much money about it but these essential thought of identities not for patterns. There you can find anything honest about it absolutely and it's the reason I ask is you know so often youngsters who begin their music study at a very early age inclined to have absolute pitch whether it's a result or consequence of their earlier study of course we don't know. But so often the earlier the study the
chances of having this special sense of rootedness probably yes deserving of the greeting. How do you how do you feel about teaching. If you don't need teaching I have had often known people that have come from a short time. I haven't been able to devote Unfortunately the time that would be logically necessary to them and I think this is unfair also because if I'm speaking of very gifted pupils of course and if you have a very gifted pupil he needs. Constant attention. Weekly or otherwise naturally an advice from somebody he respects and an advice it can be helpful to put him in a terrible revolutionary situation in his own system because he has to correct certain things and then they're not revised until the teacher comes back from a tour and this is very dangerous. Do plan at some future time to make more of your time available for teaching. No not for the moment. What about practice. I practice what should be considered a little very
regularly and extremely intensely HATE to be disturbed that I practice and usually people around me don't you and I and very concentrated and therefore very tired when I finish practicing by practicing varies between one of the half to two hours a day. But the new and additional hours in school or study because here suggest reading all that you learn the peace away from the piano before you take it and your pieces for example are learned in a very short period once one's have meditated over them and practice them. But I don't perform that night to the public until 2 years later. Important words and delivered you. Dude you have a kind of a photographic picture of the score Leno insecurely sound picture compositionally opiates and little Jenny that is doing what I call this kind of thing before going to the graphic. Not at all visually not at all. All in sound. Sounded definitely in that remain so I can hear for example not discord as most I think most
musicians can and it would but for example I remember a lady pianist once a hit in Italy who played by heart of course and she played this and that and then it one part and instinctively she went with one of her hands with her lips trying to turn the page which didn't exist which of course was a disaster simply because the entire audience roared with laughter. But I mean this is something that can happen to me either because I have no visual sense of the school or I would never know where to turn the page. If anything you have mentioned several times the such terms as concentrated intense meditate and so on. I gather that your application to your art has a very serious strong and continuing thing that takes up most of your life is what you do by way of her like a similarly intense that is what kind of outlets do allow yourself I am an intense person so I dont think I could function otherwise and everything I do I like to do completely.
I am not allowed to do too many sports unfortunately otherwise I would definitely like more sports I used to skate for example as a tad could comparatively well and thats considered dangerous by a good example Lloyds of London. I can't ski so I do a lot of swimming and that's about all. And I like to walk very much. For thou sometimes I do a lot of reading. I have to read I need reading and I think I hope it is intensely is everything else. PD I do. Yes a little bit of drawing painting collages and they're really the hobby and these may be the past but I can't concentrate at least after a performance such as the one we heard the other night where you were so tensely How do you relax. What happens after this kind of
emotional experience I imagine you know sweating nobody can give any sort of performance. Beat it good but not a bad one and go back to the hotel and sleep. First of all because you have been. So nervously involved it even if your body is tired your mind is wide awake and so excited that you would have to be drugged to sleep. What one needs was sort of empty body afterwards is a fictional of friends being surrounded by people. If one is not very happy with the performance of each I think to be serious this would happen quite often one needs it more than ever before. If it happens to be one of the few occasions when you can call yourself satisfied and happy. Many things contributed for example the other night a definite contribution was made by Les and the orchestra. I mean there were three elements with two elements extra those with a satisfactory to me personally.
So then I spent the evening it was put at the end transfer line. This is about Angel in need most. Until finally you I don't finally I I mean I feel dead then I have to go but what about the audience. What does an audience give to you and the audience is the first handicapped when you play for the first that is anywhere because they come. Logical leap with a feeling of insecurity about the out this they have read about the most active was a wonderful publicity before their first appearance because they're being called Wonderful somewhere else. They're helped by their records and fame somewhere else. But an audience likes or discovered an artist by themselves they don't like to be dictated. They want to discover him and loving family or simply disliking that you feel that is an aggressive feeling in the audience and that is who is sensitive to it. Walking on stage for the first time feels that in Italy
and it is not a very happy atmosphere to play TL even if you see good will in the audience. Even a fan of the others gives you the two years that I was lucky enough to be at the end of that. But I think it is there for the first time sometimes cannot be the best to give of yourself. I'm not referring to the other even within a small gesture and I think the best audience is always called by each artist. The audience that has heard the most often. And finally accepted him and loved him and then he set an expectation in the hall that when you come to it you feel that you absolutely want it and you cannot really give you at last if you don't feel that the other person or the other people needed and wanted and expected from you. Do audiences differ from in this ridiculous sense not at all. You had more educated audiences in that audience but I mean the personal God with an audience is exactly based for each artist on this one last thing I should say that
in general American audiences are far superior to what also modeled to European or other audiences because they've they have this fantastic possibility of hearing as he constantly under the best circumstances I mean it was an obvious orchestra as a major soloist. And the vetted programs which threaten friends and what else do you experience. Nervousness before a performance. This is a matter of luck because it doesn't depend on being certain of oneself or not. Look you're born with it or not. What you call an escaped animal. I enjoy the stage. I like being on stage and I adore performing do fall or follow any particular routine. Do you ever perform. I try to make the day of the concert anything less important than others I mean Warcry practice less sometimes not at all the concert live is naturally until the performance
famous every other day. I would probably become nervous if they made a special ritual about it. How do you eat. Shortly No I don't think we thought of it for most people simply because I think nobody with the exception of certain singers who can swallow two tickets before they sell but otherwise no I think everybody needs you need you know that you know that to be absolutely at ease on stage any decision and stomach I think you'll get because I gave you that this and I have a very strong coffee which is not always easy to get. You're going to be a lot more active as a recording artist now if you're recording for two major companies. I believe yes. Do you have any set formula or outlook as to how long the work should be in your repertory how many times you should have performed in public before you would undertake a recording you know. You know basically all all the words that I have except it could be called works that have been played
very often with unlimited. If you haven't done anything so far to learn to work specific as it were going to I would never do it. All my life I don't believe in it I think it's putting the leg of the company that records for me and with me and certainly of the public. You have no right to do it I think it's. But I mean any professional will do it very well. Obviously technically it would be good if you have a certain amount of culture musically to try to write but there will be no personal life to it it will be absolutely like it. And that official synthetic recording and other words that you reserve for recording the music with which you have made a valid identification of it. Have there been instances or were you speaking in terms of the experience of other artists instances in your own career finding that it was absolutely impossible to reach an understanding with a conductor. Yes but that you don't have to wait for it to notice it. The first minute you know what.
Together it's normal that it should be this way of course especially the kind that is as strong a personality or a different personality from yours. Under the circumstances have you ever withdrawn from a performance or what do you do do you simply attempt to make the best of it. No basically because I know the conductors I play with most of them are close friends of mine but sometimes I play with a couple of those them a few usually heard him personally or someone else and then LOL. I have refused to be thought accepting Not really and compromised myself. I figured he had the occasion offending somebody that isn't me and I wouldn't send us any but cooperative. It takes on both sides a certain amount of consolation of course and respect. I am always open to them that this suggestion of certain changes if necessary and I expect him to be the same give and take. Absolutely and I don't believe in a company man I just believe in a definite collaboration on stage or on records. I think of course it's as important that
he's interpretation should be close to the line is meant to his device. Very interesting having this opportunity to learn to know you. I am sure we will have many more opportunities to know you better through your performances in this country. We thank you for joining us. Thank you for asking me. Thank you really it was amazing. This has been a conversation with a Lexus vice and Baird Bulgarian born pianist with an international reputation. Winner of the 11 trick competition in one thousand forty seven plays an immense repertoire from Bach to rock mun and off concert halls all over the world. Participating where Aaron Parsons professor of music theory at Northwestern University's School of Music and program annotator for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and George Stone program director of Zenith radio corporation's radio station WEAA FM They were joined today by Richard freed assistant to the director of the Eastman
A conversation with
Episode Number
#12 (Reel 2)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/500-qr4nqk34).
No description available
Media type
Embed Code
Copy and paste this HTML to include AAPB content on your blog or webpage.
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 69-12-12 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:28
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “A conversation with; #12 (Reel 2),” 1969-02-27, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed July 3, 2022,
MLA: “A conversation with; #12 (Reel 2).” 1969-02-27. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. July 3, 2022. <>.
APA: A conversation with; #12 (Reel 2). Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from