James Conlon and Menahem Pressler discuss the concepts of beauty and truth applied to music, illustrated by Chu-Fang Huang's interpretations accompanied by the Takács Quartet.
For centuries, the classical music tradition has put an emphasis on its capacity to produce sounds which are pleasing to the ear of the listener. But there is more than Beauty to an interpretation and the musicians have to be in constant search for the truth of the piece, in other words, they have to look for the feelings it seeks to express: drama, despair, torment or love? The genius of the composers, according to Conlon is that they presented those deep and harsh emotions in a beautiful way from the outside. Accordingly, the contesters of the Van Cliburn competition have to find this balance between beauty and truth.
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 Dionysus? 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.
Portrait of the great Austrian conductor
Does Classical Music Have To Be Entirely Serious?
A documentary by Peter Rosen. Narrated by Dan Rather
The 13th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, 2009