miércoles, 19 de marzo de 2008

Why no "Sukarlan plays Sukarlan" ?

My manager Chendra Panatan has always been bombarded with this question (especially by many, many young pianists) : Why doesn't AS record and play his own piano music ? He's always answered with "Later perhaps", but now I will tell you the exact reasons why.

1. There are still not so many pianists who play my pieces, so I do not want to dictate them how to interpret my own music. Ok, ok, Rachmaninov as a pianist or Samuel Barber as a baritone were the best interpreters of their own music, but how many composers could claim it so? I am always surprised in listening to other people performing my music ; I always found new things which I even didn't realize before in my music. The good musicians always find new points of view in looking at the music. Don't misinterpret me as an idiot ! It's true, I tell you. It has happened also in the opposite way, when I am interpreting someone elses music. Sir Michael Tippett, Peter Sculthorpe and many others have expressed this to me (and in case of Sir Michael, God bless his soul, spoke it out loud on BBC Radio 3!) when they listened to my playing of their music.

2. You must understand that composing is one thing, being an interpreter is another thing. My interpretation of my own music doesn't make it more "authentic" than other (hopefully better) musician's interpretation. As a pianist, my position is exactly the same when I am playing Beethoven or when I am playing Ananda Sukarlan. The composer/conductor Andre Previn told me once that good music is always better than its performance. Therefore, nobody yet can achieve what Beethoven really wanted his music to sound. His music is still far better than any interpretations of it. In my case, it's the contrary : I am counting on my musicians to make my music sound BETTER than I wrote it !

3. I prefer at the moment to record music by other composers who I esteem highly. Especially now I am focusing myself on my Indonesian composers colleagues. Almost nobody cares about their music, and those who care, cannot play the piano ! Some of our senior composers such as Amir Pasaribu and Trisutji Kamal deserve to have recordings of their piano music NOW (to be precise, it's been long overdue). In case of the late Yazeed Djamin, there is also a feeling of friendship besides admiration. I am proud of their music, and I wish that Indonesian musicians could be proud of their composers. Who else but us, Indonesians, can introduce those composers ? They are not even known in our own country.