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Volume 14 - Issue 1 - September 2008

espect for the form and

espect for the form and style, it can be played on many instruments.For myself, I think that the piano can be a very good voice.I notice that when you teach you offer physical ways of solving aproblem. You demonstrate at the piano a lot, and actually show astudent how to practice something.I'm performing a lot, so I see the physical, intellectual and expressiveelements. I want the students to put those elements togetherthemselves-not only for the sound, but for the character. That'swhy I send all my students to the theatre. Being a pianist is so isolating.You can work on the piano repertoire for all your life, andyou don't have enough time in one life to learn half of it.You are frequently called a romantic virtuoso-even on your ownwebsite.I do play a lot of romantic music. But I enjoy playing Mozart andBach and Schubert as much.So does that refer to your repertoire or your style of playing?Maybe one reason why I have that reputation is because I won at theTchaikovsky competition. But for many years now I've been playingmuch more classical style repertoire like Mozart, so I have somereservations about this.I think of a romantic virtuoso as one who will take liberties with thescore to project their personal vision. But your playing is never justabout you, it's far more about the music.It's all about the music. I'm just a catalyst [he laughs], a catalystbetween the composer and the public, that's all. I am just trying togather enough knowledge on how to play the instrument to projectthe ideas and feelings that are in the music. So that's what my workis all about.But there is a confusion. People think of a romantic virtuoso as along-haired guy coming on stage and pounding the piano-not at all.tt-'hat about these flashy young showmen today who sell out way inadvance and get ovations just for showing up?I don't want to go into this, but what I do want to say is that in anypiano class there is always one student who can play faster and louderthen the others. But maybe it's the quietest student sitting in theback who has real comprehension of music, but will not be asflashy. Someone who wants to learn how to organize the music andwork on technique is going to have more to give than anyone else.My favourite example of a not necessarily virtuosic pianist is AlfredBrendel. I never think about him as a pianist, but as an incrediblemusical mind. He uses the piano as a catalyst for his own expression,and that's fabulous to me. Another one is Daniel Barenboim,who has one of the greatest musical minds we have seen sofar, a phenomenal talent. But when you listen to him you don't thinkof him as a pianist-you think of him as a musician. He plays thepiano extremely well, obviously, but you always get a musical message,just as with Wilhelm Kempff and Martha Argerich. But theyare all very different, with very different temperaments.Nobody has the truth about everything. Every pianist has a differentpersonality and a different natural understanding of a certainmusical language.tt-'hat do they have in common?They all have this phenomenal desire to express something. One willbe a little more objective, and another one will be a little more subjective,but they are all aiming at the same bulls-eye.tt-'hat is it about a pianist that makes people want to listen to them?In the end, after all the work has been done to organize the musicphysically and sound-wise, if the character is present when you playthen you've got it! But if it's not, then someone who goes to your"perfect" concert will eat their scrambled eggs the next morning andnot even think about the concert anymore, because it was not anevent. I am trying to create an event.You performed the Liszt Sonata here at the opening concert for theToronto Summer Music Festival a couple of weeks ago, and againat the Festival of the Sound in Parry Sound a few days ago. That'sa work you played at the Tchaikovsky Competition thirty years ago.Has it been a particularly significant piece for you?10 WWW.THEWHOLENOTE. COMLaplante receives accoladesat the 1978 TchaikovskyInternational MusicCompetition in MoscowVery - it is an important piece. Iwould say, pound for pound, it'ssurely one of the best pieces Liszt, ever composed. It's phenomenalwhat he did with the form. Thewhole thing is based on just threethemes, and he developed thosethree themes for twenty-five minutes.Has your interpretation changedmuch over the years?Yes it has. The piece is so immensethat you need to swim in it for along time. Technically I don't haveany problem with it now-I neverreally did-but I can listen to itmore objectively now, so I cancreate much longer lines. Eventuallyit becomes all one form. Sometimes, I will be more interested incertain aspects of its character,white at other times different aspects-ithas so many.Did the fact that your teacher at Juilliard, Sas cha Gorodnitzki, wasRussian have much influence on your style?Yes, to some extent. Maybe that's why I'm supposed to be a romanticpianist. Gorodnitzki studied with Joseph Lhevinne, who wasa phenomenal pianist, probably one of the best who ever lived. TheRussians have their own training and their own tradition.You are putting a lot into this festival, with the opening night concertand all these masterclasses. tt-'hat do you think this festival canaccomplish?MUSIC FESTIVALMark FewerArtistic DirectorFRIDAY, SEPT.19LEITH CHURCH8pm" ;! -Vea,. dfC:'u- 1-tdllo 0Works by:Handel/HalvorsenSchnittkeSchoenbergStravinskySATURDAY, SEPT. 20DIVISION ST.UNITED CHURCH,OWEN SOUND8pm" t 4 "aboi, C/ 5c2c&Works by:SchoenfieldBuczynskiBolcolmBoccheriniVirginia BarronAssoc. Artistic DirectorSUNDAY, SEPT. 21LEITH CHURCH2pm''aU:;oocf trd, ':f!/.J ..Works by:HaydnBrahms

It creates an interest, and that promotes classical music. The concertsseem to be attracting a great many people. For the students itprovides an opportunity to go to many masterclasses, not just piano,and listen to what other people have to say.I'm very happy to be able to be here giving something to thesestudents. You know, I learn a lot from my students, how to verbalizean explanation and inspire them. When I practise the same piecemyself, it's actually a little bit easier. It's funny to say, but it's true.Had you worked with Agnes Grossmann before this festival?Yes, yes. We had known each other, and had done concerts together.Agnes always comes up with these incredible ideas that worklikethis festival. This is something to pull off.You are often referred to as the heir to Glenn Gould. Do you seemuch in common, apart from the fact that you are both Canadianpianists who created a sensation when you played in Russia duringthe Soviet era?If this is said it's a big honour, and a big responsibility. What Ithink about Gould is what the majority of people think: he was in aclass by himself. And when you are not only a totally natural musician,but inspired and cultured, then that sets an example. He certainlyis a guiding light.You don't really share a lot of the same repertoire, especially regardingBach.Of course Gould was playing much more than Bach. That's not thepoint. It doesn't make you necessarily a better musician to play a lotof Bach-or Mozart or Prokofiev or this or that. I think what makesyou a better musician is to keep an eye on those musicians whoreally inspire. You see how much they work, practicing and enrichingthemselves with culture and putting all their life in the service ofexpression. They are a gift to the world.LISTENING SUGGESTIONSRECORDINGSSOLO PIANO-Hetu: Piano concerto no. 2. CBC Radio Orchestra. CBC Records SMCO 5228-Tchaikovsky: Piano concerto no. 1 in B-flat minor & other works. Orchestre symphonique deOuebec, Yoav Talmi, conductor. Riche Lieu RIC2 9970.- Brahms: Piano Sonata no. 3, Two Rhapsodies, op.79. Analekta AN2 9270-Liszt: Sonata in B minor; Sonetto del Petrarca no. 104, etc. Analekta AN2 9273-Ravel: Gaspard de la nuit, Valses nobles et sentimentales, Menuet antique, Sonatine. Elan CD2232-Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto no. 3, Prelude, op.23, no.1, Tchaikovsky: Autumn Song, op. 37a,no. 10. Moscow Philharmonic, Alexander Laza rev, conductor. Analekta/Fleur de Lys FL 23107CHAMBER MUSIC-Milhaud, Saint-Saens, Strauss, Nielsen, Fran~aix & Martinu. Ensemble of the Festival of theSound. CBC Records MVCD 1089-Luedeke: Transparency of Time & other works. Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, BramwellTovey, conductor. CBC Records SMCD 5141- Ravel: Melodies. Catherine Robbin, mezzo-soprano & members of the Toronto SymphonyOrchestra. CBC Records MVCD 1128ON LINETwo live concert recordings are available for listening at Laplante's web site:www.andrelaplante.comTwo live concert recordings are currently posted on the CBC Concerts on Demand website:-Great Canadian Pianists -Andre Laplante: Glenn Gould, Russia and Russian Music, Oct. 01,2007, Glenn Gould Studio, Toronto http://www.cbc.ca/radio2/cod/concerts/20071001 lapla-Andre Laplante and the Shanghai Quartet, Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival, July26, 2008, Dominion-Chalmers United Church, OttawaLydia Adams (conductor),Amabile Boys & Men's Choirs,Anagnoson & Kinton (piano Duo),Arriaga String Quartet.Aurora Guitar Quartet,Gabriele Baldacci (piano), Carol Beynon (conductor/director), Howard Cable (composer), Graham Campbell (jazz guitar), James Campbell(clarinet), Susan Carscadden-Mifsud (handbell soloist), Vania Chan (soprano), Lon Chaney (silent screen actor in "Phantom of the Opera"),Concert Opera Group.Jason Cutmore (piano),Alexander Dobson (baritone), Darryl Edwards (artistic director), Elmer lseler Singers, Guy Fewpiano), Mark Fewer (violin), Fig Leaf Jazz Band, Ken Fleet (conductor/director), Maya Fraser (violin), Rev. Patricia Gale-MacDonald.Allan Gilliland(composer-in-residence), Selena Gittens (vocalist),Andrea Grant (piano), Rafael Hoekman (cello), Susan Hoeppner (flute), Robert Kortgaard(piano),Janice LaMarre (viola), Nena LaMarre (piano), Lang Ning Liu (piano), Gillian MacKay (conductor), Leigh-Anne Martin (mezzo soprano),Rudy Mayes (vocalist), Bob Mills (double bass), Nat King Cole to Johnny Mathis Show.Wendy Nielsen (soprano),William O'Meara (organ),JoePalawan (musical director), David Parisi (piano),Angela Park (piano), Penderecki String Quartet, Rick Phillips (narrator), Primus Men's Choir,Kelly Robertson (tenor), Royal City Saxophone Quartet, Zorana Sadiq - soprano, Doreen Uren Simmons (piano), Daniel Sullivan (organ),Stephan Sylvestre (piano), Peter Tiefenbach (piano),True North Brass, University ofToronto Winds Ensemble, Kristin Wilkes (soprano),WWW, TH EWHOLENOTE.COM 11

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