So few notes

10th July 2010 | Concerts, Daily Life, Musings | 1 comment

A lovely moment during the BBC radio programme ‘Desert Island Discs’ with 90-year-old Dame Fanny Waterman, founder of the Leeds International Piano Competition. Dame Fanny recalled an evening some decades ago when the composer and pianist Benjamin Britten was in her house, preparing for a performance of Schubert’s song cycle ‘Winterreise’ in Leeds that evening.

Britten seemed preoccupied and worried. Dame Fanny asked him, ‘Why are you so worried? The notes of the piano part aren’t particularly difficult.’ Britten answered, ‘My dear, it is because there are so few notes on the page that I’m worried. I have to conjure up a whole world of sound.’ What a wise answer!

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