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Yuri Bashmet. “The violist is a violinist with a dark past”

Yuri Bashmet is a world-famous artist, an outstanding violist, conductor and teacher. “Kultura.RF” asked him about music lessons, motivation, favorite songs and the intricacies of the profession of a musician.

– Yuri Abramovich, tell us, please, when did you realize that you want to devote your whole life to music? For example, Pyotr Tchaikovsky shook his first trip to the opera – and then he realized his vocation. How was it with you?

– I was wrong. My mother thought that the child should be carried away with something, and made many attempts to take something with me: drawing, sports, and then for some reason music. I could then copy quite well, made copies of some pictures, but I couldn’t draw anything from my head. This is hardly my talent. And in sports it turned out well, especially in fencing. Before him, I was engaged in diving and water polo, but it was in fencing that I got stuck, inspired by the movie “The Three Musketeers”, he had just left. At first, the guys and I were fooling around with sticks in the yard, and then I signed up for the section.

– Simultaneously with music lessons?

– Yes, but my mother saved me and took me out. She was told that the hand can become inflexible: in fencing, you need a fixed position of the hand, and when you hold the bow, on the contrary, the position is flexible. But on the whole, I was good at fencing, I even got a junior level.

– How did you do everything?

– Yes, I went a month and a half just (laughs).

– And already discharge! But back to the music. Your father said that your classmates could learn one composition for three hours, and you coped with everything for half an hour and ran on other matters.

“Teachers still often ask me at conferences how often a child needs to study per day. And when I speak the truth, they remain shocked! Because I answer: “As little as possible!” I always teach my students that the number of hours spent at the instrument is not so important, but you yourself understand when you didn’t have enough of it. It is important to set the smallest goal and achieve it. If this happens in five minutes, you can safely no longer engage in this day. But I am sure that everyone wants to continue, because the next goal immediately appears.

“And the motivation …”

– Yes, I myself, when I was preparing for a competition in Kiev (the competition named after VI Lenin, which Yuri Bashmet, being the only violist among violinists, won. – Approx. Ed.). I had five months to prepare, and after about half a month I didn’t know what to do. The whole program is ready, and what to do the rest of the time? And here, I think, an interesting turn happened: formally, I still had to “defend” this watch, since I am preparing; repeating the same thing is boring, and I don’t like it when it’s boring: it’s a waste of time. And suddenly thoughts began to appear: “Why am I doing this? And what if you try it differently? ”Having played the same thing with compulsion, I began to interest myself with ideas of interpretation. In the end, at the competition I improvised completely freely. And then I realized that improvisation in classical music is much thinner and more complex than in any other genre.

– And in jazz? There’s also a solid improvisation.
– Jazz is awesome! He is very close to the classics, high jazz. But when there are no boundaries, freedom can turn into anarchy. Why is Oscar Peterson (one of the most famous jazz pianists. – Approx. Ed.) Considered to be such a lump in jazz? This is because he thought a lot and cut off a lot of excess, before improvisation appeared. Minimalism in jazz is, one can say, the same as interpretation in classical music. And improvisation according to the simple principle “where it will carry, and there we will get out” may sound tasty, but people get tired of it.

– Does it happen that you improvise right on the stage? Can something unexpected and unrehearsed be born right on the stage?

– I think this concert is the most successful, if it turns out, as you said. Now I will explain: you like the thing, you saved it, you saved it and finally bought it. Car. All she is yours! And the work of the musicians in front of the stage is a springboard for new improvisation. If there are stars, mood, climate, I don’t know (laughs), you can play a better option on stage than at a rehearsal. With me it was three times in total!

– But after all, in order to enjoy improvisation, the listener needs to know the original, to know, with what to compare? How to start cultivating taste, what kind of music to include in a child from childhood – maybe not only classical?

– Search for music is not necessary, everything is ready! The listener long ago chose the “hits” in the classics. Some works are performed more often than any other, as it happened historically – and not in vain. Now if they ask us: “How many symphonies does Beethoven have?” – we will start to figure out: Third, Fifth, Pastoral, Seventh, and Ninth – five, and he has nine!

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