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Richter On Memorization

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I was 18 years old when I attended an incredible matinée performance of Sviatoslav Richter, for the students. On the programme notes was this text of Richter that influenced me and have since then nearly always been playing with a score.

(Programme notes, Concert in Girona, Spain, Feb.1989. Translated from Catalan)

Why don’t I ever play without the score?

Unfortunately, I started too late to have the score in front of me while giving concerts, even though, it’s since a while that I imagined that one should play with it.

It is a paradox to think that in a time when the repertoire was much smaller and was less complex, one usually always played with score (a very healthy practice, that Liszt broke).

As of today, our brain, on top of being well occupied with the music, is overburdened by useless riches and runs the risk of fatiguing dangerously. What childishness and what vanity, source of useless work, is this sort of competition and memory skill, when the issue is to make good music that arrives at the listener! What a poor routine is one that satisfies itself in false glories that was already criticised by my beloved teacher Heinrich Neuhaus!

The incessant demand of playing with score would give less license to this “freedom”, to this “individuality” of the interpreter, which is used to tyranise the public and infests the music and which is nothing more than a lack of humility and absence of respect towards the music.

There is no doubt that it is not that easy to be completely free when one has the score in front, one needs more time, more work and more practice; here why the advantage of getting used to it from as early as possible. Here is an advice that I would give to all the young pianists: adopt this method that is healthy and natural, that will permit you to not burden yourself with playing the same programmes all your life, but instead give yourselves a much more rich and varied musical life.

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My Approach to Music

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While music is often seen as a means for entertainment and for human expression and achievement, in my experience it bears a transformative power that can help us evolve and grow. By touching us in the innermost depths of our being, it can connect us to one another in a profound manner and allow us to be permeated by a sense of belonging to a universal unity. My music aspires to lend itself to this dimension of music.

In order to connect with the reality and forces that sustain the universe, I find it indispensable to let go off the importance of one’s personal values and satisfaction in music. In putting aside the idea of one’s own effort and importance, the desire to impress others, to be correct etc., I have found that one starts to feel the boundaries of form and our sense of separateness break down, unlocking the mysteries that unite us with everything else. Our thoughts, emotions and movements begin to represent a flow of energy, where sound and light become vibrations and voices of a matrix representing That one universal, infinite and truthful reality.

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Fitting In

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In a world with identity crisis, where each house is full of things “Made in Somewhere-else”, and flavours from far away merge into our everyday lives, careless, idealistic, Italian born and culturally confused brought-up-in-India-into-a-new-family musician, I am now looking for a sense and the missing links in my own life, and what connects us all, humans, life, the Universe.

Although I speak in many tongues I believe I speak music best. An earthling longing to be able to fly, seeking for true connections, at heart still a dreamer but very aware of life’s harsh realities, I seek with my music to ease my pain, and break-through to enter the realms of peace, joy, and limitlessness. Sincere in my endeavour, often struggling and confused, enchanted by colours and luminosity, my musical style, though Western in origin and infused with Indian flavours, wants to find a deeper sense, to outgrow, maybe even transcend its own physical boundaries, to dissolve into the realms of colour and light and go beyond.