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Stefano Grondon Interview (English)

sagyo-chu- / still under work state(kara & dolly)

Basically Mr.Grondona's statement is not changed by me because it is better for Japanese students of 4th Miyama guitar festival to get used to his way of speaking English.


Stefano Grondona Interview
31 Aug 2008 pm11-am1 at Takarazuka
K: Interviewer(Kenzo Karasaki)
SG: Stefano Grondona

K: Maybe, I think you didn’t talk outside the lessens about music itself very deeply and very long, so it would be very interesting if we talk about that. And also in your talk in the 3rd night of the festival, you talked about the lessons with Julian Bream. He just played with you and you “stole” from him, didn’t you?

SG: Yes.

K: That story was good for students because maybe the students themselves can do the same thing to you. And it was very good for students to know when you were young, to know how you grew.

SG: To grow up…Because it is not my decision, it is just an observing from a very long distance point, now, it means NOW.

K: By “long distance”, do you mean the distance from past to now?

SG: From the past, yes. I mean, my consciousness at that time was different by now. I mean I was conscious of MY things in that time but I understand now which kind of person I was in that moment especially if we compare to some other people of same age that I had that time

K: You were different, you mean?

SG: No, I mean yes, yes, I don’t mean “different” in the sense that my purpose was to understand something. I was perhaps able to realize what I had NOT.

K: Didn’t you have it? What didn’t you have?

SG: I was realizing what I had. But I WAS also interested in how much I could have had at that time. I was, I was able to understand what I had not. And to understand especially that if I had not that, it would have been VERY important for me to have. So, it was the most important what I had not that I had in that time.
And the clear aim of that time for me was to perceive an emotional dimension of the sound that was given to me by my first imprinting, recording of Segovia, for example.
So, the idea was not to play guitar to be the best guitarist in the world.

K: Is “imprinting” something like your first education?

SG: Not education. It was self education. I mean “first impression”. Impression is not education. Education means that somebody is driving your process of understanding something.

K: In what way was the first impression important for you?

SG: The first impression was important for me because I got the good reason for which I was guitarist in that time. It was to reach the emotional dimension that was felt by me while I was in contact with the Segovia disk..

K: So, you had the Segovia disk but you noticed you had not what Segovia had?

SG: I noticed I had not, I started that I had nothing, and I had started that I had to go to toward that.

K: Toward Segovia?

SG: Segovia, or that kind of dimension, because I don’t want, I didn’t want to say that if that emotional dimension was belonging to Segovia ONLY. Or, it was all an abstract, abstract emotional dimension that was given to me by Segovia. But when I heard, for example, the scherzo C flat minor by Chopin played by Benedetti Michelangeli, it was played by different way by Segovia, I mean, “geometrically” very perfect, very structured player, but emotion was there. Why MANY other guitarists or pianists were not giving the same kind of emotion.

K: Do you mean Segovia was “geometrically” correct, but “emotionally” not correct?

SG: No, I mean very correct geometrically and very correct in emotionally. I mean that Segovia was a little improvising, melting situations of the piece to reach your heart. So, it was very rubato and it was very,,, very small structured pieces, repertoire…

K: Do you mean that was bad or that was good?

SG: No, No, that was what it was. It was very good because it was emotional.

K: But sometimes I feel he is not geometrically correct, isn’t he?

SG: He was really geometrically correct, quite correct, but we also have to understand that he was coming from another kind of epoch, another kind of interpretation, conception. “Geometry” was slightly different. But other musicians who are more “modern”(making hand sign) could be more geometrical and less interesting. But who was able to be interesting and emotional being also geometrical like him. For example just the technical for the piano is more geometrical than guitar just for the action of fingers of arms or falling down of both arms and body. So this is helping a more regular pronunciation of the sounds. But this doesn’t mean anything at the end. But in that time I was experiencing that the emotional result coming from other instruments like the piano through the hands of somebody specific, not so many people, where the same circumstances, emotional circumstances that was under different shape, different sounds given by Segovia. So for me, it was the study was to search all landscapes to see what was giving me such high deep emotion. But was not, and then, how it was done, how was the structure of that, how was working, something like that. And I had just to work on myself to get that something so the purpose was that one. Then perhaps something does not coming I didn’t know how to manage for the instrument so every problem was coming to the light. But I was not accepting just my gifts as a good player because I was quite good guitarist at that time. But I was totally unsatisfied by me because I was wanted to go beyond what I was. So I had to understand how it was working so much in other people, not so many. And more I knew people playing, more I was selective and somewhere I was going into solve of the problem. But the problem was that one. Everything could be interesting because I had not but I had intuition that this was useful to get, to have, and I was missing it. And more, I was able to insist to get what I had not. While many other people were just able to work for years adfirming(?) what the nature gave to them, without asking if it is good, good enough, or not good at all. They are just trying to make a competition in the life to adfirm(?) what nature did for them. So, not for getting for better nature, but accepting, defending their primitive nature. Do you understand?

K: Yes.

SG: So, this is the point. And it is like a competition between different animals, who has the largest ears, longest nose, or jumping quicker, or higher, or… The winner is the one who has more qualities. But the purpose of all the situation is lost. It means that spontaneous musicality is sufficient to keep the image of music. And the pattern, it is more Guinness of, for something that could be like a circus, for example. Who is the faster, who is the stronger, who is the… But not, “this” coming really out from that. And also comparison with the deep messages that arrive from history of interpretation, and more, deep messages that are RECORDED. So there is a history now of the interpretation. So, things were done, and also conserved, so proposed, so Segovia that was speaking to me, that was not speaking to me contemporary, he was a Segovia of at least 20,25 years before. So, this is also interesting point to understand, the importance of disk to gives such interpretation, the potential projection toward the future.

K: So, when you play in front of audience, and when you play in front of microphone, is your attitude a bit different or totally different?

SG: It is… I can say a bit totally different. Yes, because the perception...the purpose of perception...the purpose of the work is different, because, first of all, the concert hall is the place where you play.

K: Do you mean in concert hall it’s more communicative than CD recording?

SG: No… Different way of communication. Recording is done in a certain hall, to fix the sounds on the certain support that is the CD, and this sounds, this music will be heard, we don’t know where. Perhaps on earshere?, perhaps in a small room, or perhaps with the very bad stereo, or perhaps the most fantastic stereo but in a big hall while the recording is made in a smaller hall. So, the production of the disc is not done for a real place that reproduces the characteristic of the place which I was playing, while a concert hall is just that. So, I sit, I play, I project my ideas, my ideas are also conditioned by the air, by the space, by the return of the sound to my ears, so it is very much in relationship with the present, while in recording, obviously, playing is in relationship with present, but the result of that playing will be repeated also many times, every time somebody is listening to the disk. Well, it is not the same effect. So, it could be cultivated as a different production. So, the sound of recording is not the sound that comes out from guitar ONLY, but the sound is coming out by any potential loud speaker in any potential room, and any potential repetition also, of the performance. So, this is conditioning a lot because concert is concert, it’s live perfect perception, if you understand when you listen, if you are concentrated you are concentrated, if you miss you miss. If I as a listener. As player, it is the same. There is just one way experience. And perhaps the memory of what you are conserving in your soul, in your…emotional center. While disk, you can listen 20 times the beginning of a sonata, or you can listen the sonata 20 times in different days or in the same day. So it must be perhaps a more open work, open to the experience with the repetition. So it could be sometimes a cold image of some phrase that is in public performance very very very free. On the disc does not function as it is with that original air in the concert hall. So you have to be aware simply, listen, listen again, make it the editing, every passages...One time editing was not possible. They were trying to get with the recording something like a picture of live performance. It was nice also, it was working. So many mistakes were there, many uncertain point, but it was, this was the rule of the play. Nowadays I think this does not work anymore because the basic system of the recording is a little limitating the real perception of the sound, where the sound is born, that means the concert hall. It is like to take a picture of somebody running and you don’t see…you see the energy he has while he is running, but you don’t see that he is running REALLY. You don’t see the complete phenomenon. You just see photograph something like fixing one part of the… like movie. Movie is taking,,, I can say pictures every six,,, every,,, every, I don’t know…(Note: Movies usually consists of 24 pictures per second)

K: Why has the history of recording changed? Is it because of editing?

SG: Yes, because quality of the sound because of editing I think.

K: There are no mistakes now, but there were mistakes in those days.

SG: NO,NO, I don’t mean the mistakes! The editing is not, well, er, it’s not the problem of mistakes, the editing is permitting to idealize the perception of that recording. So idealize means you know what you are doing, not, not in (??note: i have to check from here)perfectionperception? (is not difficult)?, making mistakesif you make mistakes, you can correct. (to here)This is making… perhaps many many people that are not able to play are able to make disks because they appear in perfect in the sense that they don’t make any mistakes. But if they don’t play well, they still play badly, without, also without making mistakes. You can understand that, things are not working.

K: Why has the history of recording changed? Is it because of editing?

SG: Yes, because quality of the sound because of editing I think.

K: There are no mistakes now, but there were mistakes in those days.

SG: NO,NO, I don’t mean the mistakes! The editing is not, well, er, it’s not the problem of mistakes, the editing is permitting to idealize the perception of that recording. So idealize means you know what you are doing, not, not in perfection is not difficult, making mistakes you can correct. This is making… perhaps many many people that are not able to play are able to make disks because they appear in perfect in the sense that they don’t make any mistakes. But if they don’t play well, they still play badly, without, also without making mistakes. You can understand that, things are not working. And so not a problem…If you are good to put together the sounds to make a performance or physically or artificially you are getting toward the point that we will be musical so…

K: But some people say that, to erase some mistakes by editing, this editing is not good because it is false thing.

SG: Yes, it’s false thing but It’s more moral? thing. But I understand that mistake is human. But nowadays our habit is not to listen mistakes on disks. So, you can erase a mistakes, this is good,this is not good this does not change the meanings of the production because if you take, for example, somebody playing not so well and he makes mistakes and you erase the mistakes, the meaning of what he does does not change really. The point is not mistake or not mistake. Mistake is in the wrong interpretation, the wrong way to make the music. That is the mistake.

K: So, interpretation, not sounds, makes mistakes, do you mean?

SG: Yes, no, no, it isn’t the way in which the sounds are getting together, if they don’t get together you cannot do anything with sound, with editing. With editing you can vary just intonation where intonation is not correct. You can adjust the tempo a little there but you cannot accede the music through(thanks to) the editing. Totally, it’s absolutely impossible. You can save(seize?) the formal aspect of mistake, formal wrong mistakes, they can really, but I’m not afraid of(about) that. I know that, somebody who is not able to play well will never play better thanks for(to) the editing. So, no problem with the…(interruption)

(A break. Mr. Grondona took a shower. This interview took place late at night which was the last day of his stay in Japan.)

K: So, I think we were talking about the difference between recording and performance in front of audience. I think the extreme examples which are Glenn Gould who played only in front of microphone and Sergiu Celibidache who played only in front of audience.

SG: Yes. This is the decision what you can do in the life. Perhaps you can’t do EVERYthing, or if you have a deep idea, you understand that you have to follow something. And where,,, you work so hard to get a certain kind of result. Can you imagine for example just in case in conductor, like Chelibidache I could also understand because it is the source of the orchestra it’s already an audience. The orchestra is already made by plurality of people. So it means some people have to be like you take audience and you say you play the violin, you play that, you have to listen, so it is to coordinate OTHER people so creature, natural creature that are not YOU as a conductor. But they have to respond to your direction through the listening of the complex of what the other audience, players are doing. While perhaps the most monotheistic(we can say) soloist, we can say that he is more dependent by its own dimension of single person in spite of single person has to become like the audience of many parts. So if you play a fuge, 2, 3, 4 voices, or, any kind of piece or any ingredients are another. And NOT you. BUT another you. Another part of your person. So this means that you become audience and you become part of phenomenon. Plural phenomenon. But in this case, well, you can cultivate this things the perception of your own solitude while you are conducting you need to have relationship with people. That are not only instrumentalist. Ordinary people. It might be good but interested, not interested,
2008年10月10日(金) 21:08:14 Modified by kzkara




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