An in­ter­view with

BBC Music Magazine - - Recording of the month - Dénes Vár­jon

What was your in­spi­ra­tion for this record­ing?

I like mak­ing pro­grammes that have a theme but at the same time can be very con­trast­ing. I did some recitals where I played Gas­pard de la nuit and the Bartók in the se­cond half, and the first half was some­times Schu­mann Fan­tasi­estücke.

I felt that it could be a nice com­bi­na­tion for a record­ing. I think a programme should al­ways have links and sto­ries be­hind them. It can be very sub­jec­tive and per­sonal, ac­tu­ally, in a way I think it has to be. Gas­pard de la nuit is a chal­lenge. Is that its ap­peal?

It is ex­tremely dif­fi­cult, of course, but it’s not the pi­anis­tic chal­lenges that are at­trac­tive to me. It’s an in­cred­i­bly brave piece and it brings an at­mos­phere which is very ap­peal­ing; Ravel’s mu­si­cal world is un­be­liev­able. The chal­lenges are that some of the dif­fi­cul­ties should be not heard; one should re­ally not con­cen­trate on the pi­anis­tic part. Ev­ery­thing is serv­ing the ex­pres­sion, and that’s very dif­fi­cult to achieve. It’s re­ally like telling a story.

How do you con­nect Schu­mann to Bartók, decades apart?

I find the con­nec­tion be­tween the pieces very in­ter­est­ing. Some­how for me Schu­mann and Bartók would not fit so well to­gether next to each other; it needs the Ravel, it’s like a com­po­si­tion. If you see what the sound of night is for Ravel and Bartók it’s very dif­fer­ent, but I find a link some­how, a step for­ward. From Schu­mann it’s more this fan­tasy world, like telling sto­ries and writ­ing di­aries. It is this fan­tasy world which brings these pieces to­gether.

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