“I am just about to go on tour with the Goldberg Variations to Singapore and Australia. It takes 80 minutes to play the full version. I was at Dartington Summer School in 1982 to take part in Andras Schiff’s masterclass at his concert at the beginning of the week and it totally changed my world, it was one of those experiences that had a profound effect on me….
….And after the concert, I came out and looked at the trees and the lawn outside the concert hall and they all looked different, everything was different, and it was as though I was hearing the sirens singing to me that I had to learn this piece.
It took me some years to learn it because I was doing other things as well, it’s a feat of memory because it’s one of those pieces that you have to be completely obsessed with it; you have to devote countless hours to it. There’s a single mindedness, it’s a question of the amount of practice time you have to devote to it. It’s not a question of memory, that’s just like a computer file that you open up! It’s a question of focus, of not being distracted too much.
I have a full teaching load but I’m really trying to give as much as possible, it would certainly be four or five hours a day seven days a week at the moment. When I’m on tour, on concert days it’s very gentle. I don’t do anything else except a little practice in the morning, then I go for a walk in the afternoon then I rest until the evening. If the music isn’t ready by the day, there’s nothing much you can do on the day to make a difference. The best pianos I’ve ever played have inspired me…brought out the best in me. If I’ve got a particularly wonderful piano it brings out an almost like a magical quality that you can’t account for. I don’t play an encore after the Goldberg Variations, even though people ask for one. I think this music really doesn’t need anything else with it.” (Graham Fitch)
Connect with Graham at his blog http://practisingthepiano.com/