Q. What is the true reason you specialize on Baroque in terms of musical performance? Is it because your practice time is too limited? Is it a question of taste? Is it because you count yourself among the ‘old music’ fans, the purists, the ones who live highly restricted lives?
A. None of this. Or much more than this. It is that I express through musical performance something that I would qualify as a philosophical conviction or even a lifestyle. A Baroque Spirit. A Baroque Way of Life. A Baroque Mindset.
Q. What is so special about Baroque? Is it not just another musical epoch? In what should it be considered differently?
A. It is not musical in the first place, but historical. Artistic thereafter. Musical after that. You got the counterpoint. In classical, romantic and modern, there is no counterpoint, or a residue of it. This is a phenomenal loss! A loss to overwhelming that a whole book about it could be written.
Q. What does counterpoint represent for you, then. Do you see it as a metapher?
A. Yes. It is a metaphor for life, for vibration, for high-pitched vital energy that ‘bounces’ back with every body movement you make. In Baroque music, you got syncopes often times, you get a ‘jumping’ mood in the Gigues, it dances always, even if the piece is not called a dance or a suite.
Q. What do you feel when you play Baroque and afterwards you play romantic music?
A. I feel that the creative tension is gone, that all of a sudden, life is very boring. And the jumps are gone, the jumps of joy that little children are so happy to perform. And this happens not just with romantic music, it already happens with Haydn, Mozart of Beethoven which I consider as the most boring of all composers. And this I felt already in childhood, by the way. At least, when you play Rachmaninov, Liszt or Tchaikovsky, you get a certain thrill from the pianistic difficulties and you get busy with them, to integrate them. So it’s a bit less boring …
Q. But you said before that Baroque, for you, is not just a question of a particular style of music, but something like a Way of Life?
A. Yes. I am not just a pianist or musician. I am writer, too, an artist, a photographer, and a chef. In all these domains, there is excitement coming from a ‘Baroque’ view of life.
Q. Well, for Heaven’s Sake, then, what is a ‘Baroque’ view of life?
A. It is a joyful, bountiful, vibrant, dynamic and also cyclical expression of vital energy! It is the life abundant. It is the life connected with nature, with a nature-based lifestyle.
Q. Is that not something like your personal utopia? Does it not mean an ideal?
A. I said already in this blog that I consider musical performance as a craft. The idea of a craft is very dear to ‘Baroque’ thinking, it is not a modern idea. To view life as a whole as a craft is not an ideal, it is a pragmatic stance on life, it is life in its practical dimension.
Q. This sounds confusing. Are you now restricting your ideal to a mere practical point of view?
A. No. My intention is not to restrict anything. At this point, we need to agree that there is something like a ‘Baroque’ view of life, and that this view or philosophical thesis can be handled in a practical manner in that it can be made a way of life, a mode of life, a way to handle life.
Q. I would say that this is indeed a possible perspective, but what is the purpose of it? Is there a purpose behind it?
A. Yes, definitely. The purpose is vitality! In Baroque there is lots of it, in the subsequent periods, in history, art history and musical history, there is little of lit.