How can one come to terms with being a pianist madly in love with Austro-German post-Romantic music, which forsook one’s instrument in favour of the orchestra?
Love shrinks from no sacrifice, least of all from countless hours of work. I have dedicated my life to serving Liszt, and his precepts have naturally stimulated me to appropriate a wide range of repertory by means of paraphrase and transcription. Such insatiable curiosity is one of Liszt’s most striking personality traits, and his torch has guided me along a path strewn with doubts and epiphanies.
So, in practice, how to render the effect of the cowbells in the Andante moderato of Mahler’s Sixth Symphony? By incorporating harmonies typical of a carillon: the timbre is different, but the sound of the bell is suggested. How to render the intimacy of the string scoring in Schönberg’s Verklärte Nacht? That is impossible to achieve, which is why I chose to distance myself from the original work for string sextet, conceiving this paraphrase as a ‘mirror’ of the Liszt Sonata: a single- movement work for piano that invokes the symbolism of metamorphosis and explores the depths of the human psyche. In my version of Mahler’s Adagietto, I pay humble tribute to the Klavierstücke of Brahms, adding a piano accompaniment to underpin the long string sostenutos, which are almost impossible to play on the piano.