How do I produce the effects which I obtain from the piano? … In answer I would say I produce them by listening, criticizing, judging—working over the point, until I get it as I want it. Then I can reproduce it at will, if I want to make just the same effect; but sometimes I want to change and try another.
It would be an attempt to define the role, responsibility, and path of the performing musician. Our simple job is to bring beauty and inspiration to others and to do this through the most honest and humble search to find these qualities within our unique selves and then within our unique work; to painstakingly increase our knowledge and to refine and re-refine our results until we are certain that until some new enlightenment falls to us, we have done the best that we possibly can; and that as in any human endeavour which attempts to transcend its mortal bounds, we always know that we still do not know.
He [Gilels] played in an easy, natural manner, with strong but unassuming musicianship. His technique was brilliant; years later Neuhaus, still astonished, was to recall Gilels's incredible octaves in Liszt's Spanish Rhapsody. Yet Gilels was never looked upon as a mere virtuoso. As a matter of fact, his programs did not often include music pour epater le bourgeois. He played a stedy diet of Beethoven (the Hammerklavier was a work that strongly engaged his last years), Schubert, Schumann, Chopin and Brahms. In many respects, the great virtuoso who put his authoritative stamp on whatever he played was, at the same time, a thinking man's pianist.
I don't know what the effective ratio would be, but I've always had some sort of intuition that for every hour you spend in the company of other human beings, you need "x" number of hours alone. Now, what "x" represents I don't really know; it might be two and seven-eighths or seven and two-eighths, but it is a substantial ratio.
I think classical music is a great, beautiful art as long as people recognize it. But first we need to calm down and listen to it with heart. In this technologically advanced time, too many things are drawing peoples' attention. Sometimes we need to slow down, look back and feel the beauty of art and life.
In his larger forms, Schubert is a wanderer. He likes to move at the edge of the precipice, and does so with the assurance of a sleepwalker. To wander is the Romantic condition; one yields to it enraptured, or is driven and plagued by the terror of finding no escape. More often than not, happiness is but the surface of despair.
Let's take a look at the 25th variation of the second part. Here Bach meets us in his highest and deepest personal and human form: it's like in the Art of Fugue in the unfinished fugue No. 20, where Bach confronts us with his personal signature. It was he himself, who, after he had been occupied during his whole life with symbols, with numbers, with the mastering of structural and formal problems and renewals, now he saw himself confronted with a personal view into mirror. He now shows us a human being in his whole conception of life. The composer of Come, oh sweet death now is confessing, Oh sweet death, how bitter is your prickle.
I am not a complete idiot, but whether from weakness or laziness have no talent for thinking. I know only how to reflect: I am a mirror... Logic does not exist for me. I float on the waves of art and life and never really know how to distinguish what belongs to the one or the other or what is common to both. Life unfolds for me like a theatre presenting a sequence of somewhat unreal sentiments; while the things of art are real to me and go straight to my heart.