Technique Accommodating Art

I love this passage because it’s true, not just for music, but all art.

Fundamentally, technique is no more than the ability to say what one wants to say: the greatest performing artists are often the greatest technicians because their technique has grown to accommodate their art, not the other way round. Saint-Saëns’s aphorism “In Art, a difficulty overcome is a thing of beauty” is neatly turned, but for the performer it is true only if Art – or artistry – is present in the first place. Performers need to have their imaginations awakened and stimulated before they can make music from the kaleidoscope of sounds the fingers can produce on the keyboard. As a ruling maxim I prefer the exhortation of that great pianist and artist Edwin Fischer: “Do not destroy this world of artistic visions that comes up from your unconscious – make room for it; dream dreams, see visions”.

– from “Images: The Piano Music of Claude Debussy” by Paul Roberts.


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