Seeking challenges

Pianist Artur Schnabel was asked at a public forum why his repertoire was so restricted:
My answer is that now I am attracted only to music which I consider to be better than it can be performed.  Therefore I feel (rightly or wrongly) that unless a piece of music presents a problem to me, a never-ending problem, it does not interest me too much.  For instance, Chopin’s studies are lovely pieces, perfect pieces, but I simply can’t spend time on them.  I believe I know these pieces; but playing a Mozart sonata, I am not so sure that I do know it, inside and out.  Therefore I can spend endless time on it. … Children are given Mozart because of the small quantityof the notes; grown-ups avoid Mozart because of the great quality of the notes.

Artur Schnabel.  Cited in: Schonberg, Harold (1987) The Great Pianists.  New York: Fireside, pp.426-427.

By Greg

Australian composer and pianist