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Edwin Fischer on interpreting music

January 22, 2010

In this extract the great pianist Edwin Fischer discusses interpretation.

But no amount of studying, no amount of talent, no amount of industry suffices if one’s whole life is not dedicated to the idea of being a mediator of great thoughts and emotions.  Every deed, and indeed every thought leaves its mark on the personality.  The purity of one’s life should even extend to the food one eats.  Thus prepared, that which cannot be taught will come, the grace of the tranquil hour in which the spirit of the composer speaks to us, that moment of the subconscious, of rapture – call it intuition, grace, or what you will – when all ties are loosened, all constraints disappear.  One seems to hover.  One no longer feels: I am playing.  Rather, IT is playing.  And lo, everything is right, as if led by the hand of God the melodies stream from you fingers.  It streams through you, and you allow yourself to be carried along, humbly experiencing the greatest joy of the recreative artist, of being nothing but a medium, a mediator between the Godly, the Eternal and human beings.

Fischer, Edwin, Musikalisches Betrachtungen, Frankfurt-on-Main, 1964, trans. as Reflections on Music, London, 1951, p.22 (of the translation).

3 Comments leave one →
  1. August 30, 2010 3:29 pm

    It’s funny…the more technical my knowledge of music, the more I can enjoy the emotion of it. Thanks for posting this!

  2. Stefanos Theodoridis permalink
    March 16, 2011 4:26 pm

    Dear Sir

    I am a pianist living in Athens Greece and doing serious research on piano pedagogy. Edwin Fischer happens to be one of my lovable music figures thanks not only to his recordings, but also to his personality. I was wondering if it would be possible for you to make (on my expense of course) a photocopy of this most valuable and rare book of his, because I only have the German edition (my teacher owns it) and I consider it one of the most important essays on music.


    Stefanos Theodoridis

    • April 3, 2011 9:46 am

      Unfortunately I don’t have the whole book, I just have this extract. It must be quite a difficult book to get hold of.
      Best wishes

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