Edwin Fischer on interpreting music
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).