In this blog I wanted to share some videos of inspiring performances in different genres. What they have in common is a passionate and fearless sense of interpretation. The first is by Camille O’Sullivan:
The next is Robert Stephens’ acting, especially notably this most famous speech from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar:
And finally, something classical: Hvorostovsky’s performance of Bizet’s Toreador Song:
What are your creative influences? Are you inspired by paintings, books, architecture, poetry, theatre or dance?
For me the answer is all of the above. And this week I’ve also been watching skating:
It’s hard to imagine a more aligned interpretation of the music than the choreography here. The commitment of the skating has an intensity you can also see in the best classical music performers:
Moving away from live performance I often find paintings or architecture inspiring.
I love the intensity of this famous painting by George Stubbs, which you can see at The National Gallery. And most people would thrill at the Harringworth Viaduct ( below):
Following on from the last blog here is some more narrative playing – that is, where there is a clear interpretation that is full of ideas.
Example 1: Casals and Bach
Casals’ heartfelt recording has spellbinding drama .
Example 2: Rachel Podger and Andrew Manse
The imaginative dialogue between the two soloists in this performance of Bach’s Double Violin Concerto makes the music sparkle into life.
Cello Duet Narrative
The cello duet arrangements of Puccini’s aria Your Tiny Hand is Frozen and Mozart’s Non PiuAndrai have a clear story line so lots of opportunities to play with narrative. You can hear and buy this music on the links below:
Music narrative is an essential part of great interpretation. By narrative I don’t mean something you could necessarily put into words, rather the performer having a clear idea of what the music is about and what it has to say.
Examples of Music Narrative
The example above – though crackly – is a superb example of performers who are completely at one with the mood of the music ( Massenet’s Elegie ) and convey its character wholeheartedly and beautifully.
Here are some relevant quotes from the great Russian actor Stanislavsky:
” Create your own method. Make up something that works for you. Keep breaking traditions, I beg you.”
“You’ll never see any two great actors approach a role in the same way.” “Play well or play badly, but play truly.”
The overall point is that if you come up with imaginative ideas that are true to you they will breathe life into the music – just as an actor hopes to breathe life into a character he portrays.
Opera has its own narrative
One of the easiest ways to respond to narrative is when playing opera arrangements, where there is a defined story. Our arrangements of Toreador Song and Habanera – from Bizet’s opera Carmen – are good examples of this.