A few months before his death, Lipatti sketched out some notes which he intended to use for a projected master class. As a writer Lipatti was both warm and articulate. His probing interest focused on a musician's role and responsibilities.
Lipatti's Final Essay
"It is unjustly believed that the music from one epoch or another must preserve the characteristics and even the mistakes in use at the moment when it came to light. Whoever thinks this way has a peaceful conscience and finds protection from any dangerous deformation. Despite all the effort in reaching this objective, for all the research done on the past's dust, for all the useless waverings in front of the sole object of our attention, one will always end up drowning it in an abundance of prejudices and false facts. We must never forget that true and great music goes beyond its time: Bach desires the modern organ, with its innumerable registrations, Mozart asks for the pianoforte and decisively distances himself from the harpsichord, Beethoven demands our concert grand piano, of which Chopin is the first to develop its colors, while Debussy leaves in his Preludes glimpses of the Ondes Martinot. Therefore the wish to restore to music its earlier framework means the same as wanting to dress an adult in adolescent attire. This act might have some charm if one proposes a historical reconstruction, otherwise it is of no interest to those other than lovers of dead leaves and old drivel. These reflections came to mind while recalling the sensation experienced once when I played Mozart's D minor Concerto [K. 466] at a prominent European music festival, with Beethoven's magnificent cadenza. True, the same themes appear differently in the hand of Mozart than that of Beethoven, but the main fact was precisely such a confrontation between two rather differing personalities. I must tell you that, aside from the most enlightened minds, many accused me of having composed this unacceptable and anachronistic cadenza.
"How right Stravinsky was when he said 'Music is the present'. Music has to live under our fingers, under our eyes, in our heart and mind with all that we can offer them. Far from me is the thought of rendering predictable the anarchy and disdain for the primary laws which guide, along general lines, the coordination of any valid and just interpretation. But I find that one would commit a grave mistake by searching for useless details regarding the way in which Mozart might have played a certain trill or grupetto. On the contrary, these diverse markings, interpolated into editions which are for the most part excellent compel me to decisively take the path to simplification and synthesis. I immutably preserve these few basic principles which I think you are aware of, and for the rest I rely on intuition (this last is as precious as intelligence) and to in-depth penetration of the work which, sooner or later, will end up by confessing the secrets of its soul. Never approach a score with dead eyes or the spirit of the past because you might find yourselves only with Yorick's skull. Alfredo Casella said, rightfully, that we must never respect masterpieces but love them, because one only respects dead things while a masterpiece lives forever."
© Allan Evans, 1996
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