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Playing with less emotion can create more beautiful music

Putting in more effort does not necessarily mean greater improvement, writes violin professor and soloist Andrej Bielow

July 30, 2014

Our way of thinking about interpretation develops over time. One year you will play a piece with your coach in a certain way, and ten years later you might have very different ideas about it – for example, about how much passion, expression, or objectivity it needs.

Today I played a Mozart Sonata to Alfred Brendel, with pianist Kit Armstrong. We talked about the second movement, which we played rather expressively, and he said, ‘You play too emotionally – this is serioso’. We had to exclude our emotions, in a way, and just look at the score, and it made the music even more beautiful.

It is a very paradoxical thing, because you believe that the more effort you put in, the better it is. But the movement of this particular sonata was exactly the opposite.

Andrej Bielow discusses how to make students more musically creative in the August 2014 issue of The Strad, out now. Subscribe to The Strad or download our digital edition as part of a 30-day free trial. To purchase single issues click here

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