Krystian Zimerman in Financial Times

There was an interesting interview with the Polish classical pianist Krystian Zimerman in this weekend’s edition of the Financial Times. He’s pretty engaging since his technical and craftsman’s knowledge of the piano as an instrument goes pretty deep:

Zimerman has refined every aspect of his Steinway in order to bend it to his will, interchanging separate actions according to which repertoire he is performing. His narration would sound obsessive if he didn’t couch it in such logical terms.

“You can slide out the keys and the mechanism for making the strings sound, and replace it with another one. And these keyboards have particular features. Like a human being. Every person is different, and has different ways of behaving and speaking.”

Zimerman impregnates the hammers that strike the strings with specific chemicals, works on his piano’s voicing and sound, has devised his own method of transportation, and permits no other technician to touch his instrument.

“I have invented by own ways of doing certain things, which are connected to the sound and its colours,” he says. “It depends what the piece requires. Ten years ago, I would say that I adjusted the piano to the composer. Now I would go a step further, and say that I adjust it to a particular piece.”

The Brian May of classical music? Who knows. I should point out that the Financial Times’ writing is head and shoulders above most other mainstream newspapers (Washington Post, NY Times, etc.). Maybe that’s a dumb comparison (it is a British economic/capitalist newspaper after all) but their weekend arts sections almost always include something pretty decent.

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~ by chaosrexmachinae on May 11, 2008.

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