The art of piano play

1024 768 Beatrice Berrut

A score is comparable to the sketch of a canvas: outlines, dimensions and subject are there. It is up to the performer to respect and understand these basic data, and to put it into colour, perspective and enlighten it. Like a painter who chisels the detail of a flower, but keeps in mind its place in the general architecture of the landscape, the musician must develop a sense of proportion and priority. This differentiation of plans, this voluntary choice to highlight certain elements and to leave others in the shadow, constitutes an interpretation. The performer should have a broad colour palette that allows him to dress the score richly. Every intention cannot be written in a score and the sound imagination of the interpreter makes a vast database available to him. Sound – its expression, its power and its duration – must be defined before the gesture that executes it. If this constant anticipation is very natural for strings, winds and singers who must “think” the note before “making” it, it is less so at the piano. The piano is a neutral instrument, which sounds on the simple condition that a key is pressed. This neutrality, however, makes it ready to slip into all roles. Only a burning and overflowing desire to take it out of its emotional lethargy can give it a personal voice. The practice achieved on a work is therefore first of all a practice on oneself, on one’s imagination, in order to give it an acoustic shape.

The sound of music connects the performer and the audience for longer than the evening of the performance, when listening is sincere and playing is telling wondrous stories, it can be simply unforgettable.

Beatrice Berrut, 2018

Konzertpianistin Beatrice Berrut

Pianissimo is the most powerful nuance of the world.

Maurice Ravel ( 1875 – 1937 )

I imagine music as a universal language, which vibrates in the ether before being captured by the composer’s pen, and being embodied by a musician. The performer is a channel, which the French word “inter”-prète says well: he is “between” the music and the public. The ambiguity of his role is that his personality and emotions must be reflected, without distorting though the content of the message. It is almost a tightrope walk where the balance between the musician’s subjectivity and the objectivity of the text must be renegotiated at each step.

Creativity & Creation

It’s a responsibility to transmit genius music to others, and that probably explains stage fright.
Music is an art of the moment. This makes it fragile – the hours spent practicing a work matter little, if the public performance is average – but that is what makes the concert so exciting and gives it its uniqueness and spontaneity. Never will two nights be the same, and it will depend as much on the musician’s playing as on the audience’s ability to listen and to engross in the music. The magic of our profession is there, it is the mystery of the connections established on one evening, between the music, its performer and the audience.

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