The combative pianist, 85, has been sharing his opinions with our San Francisco friend, Elijah Ho.
In daily newspapers, the role of today’s critic, somebody once said, is like ‘one who describes an accident to an eyewitness’. This day-after-the-event kind of reporting is no longer relevant. I mean, the event is gone, it’s one person’s subjective impression. I think critics back in Schumann’s day were leaders and teachers of their field. Today, you sometimes get a sports reporter who’s recruited because the music critic can’t make it, or the music critic will report on a program that was not played, stuff like that.
Too many young people today play their instruments most wonderfully – they have such command of their instrument – but it’s as though they’re speaking a foreign language, phonetically. They pronounce all the words, but they have no idea of what they’re saying. And I think that’s one of the big differences between the great artists of the time and this level of expertise that is constantly expanding and rising. As I’ve said for a long time, the level of mediocrity is constantly rising.
Read the full, wonderfully challenging interview right here.