Slipped Disc editorial
Observations by the pianist Boris Berezovsky on the judging of the Tchaikovsky Competition raise some deep concerns about what the music profession – and what the music audience – expects from classical artists.
According to Boris, it was the ‘non-Russian jury members’ who voted the phenomenal Frenchman Lucas Debargue into last place. ‘They said he’s not professional,’ reports Boris.
That term demands amplification. It may be that Lucas did not look ‘professional’ because he had so little experience and support that he had never played with an orchestra before. Or perhaps his clothes were not the right cut, his shirt was open one button too many, his shoelaces were possibly untied and he forgot to say ‘spaseba’ for the flowers.
The difference between an artist and an employee is that one follows a fantasy wherever it may lead and the other clocks in on time every morning. It is an irreconcilable difference. If we want our artists to be more like civil servants – and many who run the music world are precisely of that opinion – we will soon have no artists.
Richter was never ‘professional’. He played as he pleased, if he bothered to show up.
Argerich is ‘unprofessional’. She does it her way.
Michaelangeli, Horowitz, Sokolov, Zimerman, Gavrilov, Yudina, Nikolayeva, Cortot, Fliter, Francois were and are all capricious, spontaneous individuals who refuse to conform to professional disciplines.
That’s why they make our blood race through our veins. The professionals are ten a penny. Music needs to be saved from the professionals.