Should musicians be the music they play, or should they just play it instead? James Conlon discusses this famous topic in this programme, mentioning the fact that indeed, musicians play some pieces so much that they become "their" piece, so much that they disappear into the piece; but this is not only what they should aim at: on the contrary, they need to have a certain distance with it, and perform it, play it (like actors do), instead of identifying themselves with music.
In this series of programmes, James Conlon explores various aspects of playing classical music: is this about beauty or is it about truth? Is it about technique or is it about spirit? Is it about tradition or innovation? Is it more like Plato or is it more like Aristotle? Is it more like Apollo or is it more like Dionysos? And finally, are you going to be the music or are you gonna play the music? Filmed during the 12th edition of the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in Texas, these 6 programmes discuss those aspects with the finalists of the competition, and include footages of their performances on stage during the semifinals.
BBC Television Studios, 1959-1960
The 13th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, 2009