The Music Lasts, Not the Interpretation

Feb 18, 2020

Credit Mary Noble Ours

Anybody who’s been around the music business for any length of time has met performers who are – how can I put this gently – legends in their own minds. Where the ego is large enough, the performer tends to think that the main reason a particular Beethoven sonata, or Tchaikovsky symphony, or  Puccini opera is worth hearing is the brilliance of that performer’s performance; that no one else could possibly bring the work to life so wonderfully. Well, I’m all for musicians having appropriate levels of self-confidence, and indeed you should never take the stage unless you think you have something to offer, something personal. But there are performers who are so intent on proving how “personal” their interpretations are that they distort what great composers have written; and there are also performers who forget that Beethoven’s music, for example, has already managed to stick around for quite some time, and that it isn’t, perhaps, just their performances that have convinced people that the music is worth hearing.

This has been A Minute with Miles – a production of South Carolina Public Radio, made possible by the J.M. Smith Corporation.