25 november 2004, Lausanne
The Baulieue Palais, a triumph for Martha Argerich and Charles Dutois
for a program already given the day before in the Victoria Hall of Geneva.
As youíre already aware, the Argentinian pianist and the Swiss maestro know each other well
They were married 30 years ago
They lived at Jutan near Lausanne, where we filmed them in 1972.
Martha was already famous. Charles was just about to begin a very big international career.
Soon they will follow their personal destiny.
But, the paths of this atypical couple
Will always cross in the world from capital to capital
because of their common love and talent for music
and thus, in autumn of 2004 we met them once again in Swiss Romande
32 years after, the same TV team, film directors and journalists
met them in the Victoria Hall foyer.
You will play that piece soon in a concert?
Yes, in Prague.
and before I was playing it, then before go on holidays
You are very, very young, but youíve already got a very big career / (Martha: not so young...)
When did you start playing the piano? From the cradle?
Hmmm... more or less at 2 and a half years old, by ear, with one finger.
some little songs
What did you play then?
Oh, a lot of things
For example, the sonata? By Mozart...
How old were you when you played that?
Anyway, I played in public like this
Yes, I was 4 years old
And you were playing very seriously thenÖ (Martha: at 5 years) from 5 years old
How old were you when you left Argentina?
I was 13 years old.
And after that you did the ìInternational Music Competition of Genevaî (Martha: At 16 years old) At 16 years old.
And you won First Prize...
In Geneva, at the ìInternational Music Competition of Genevaî, contest, which is known to be one of the most difficult in the world,
ìEdouart Boulanger from Paris won first prize of the clarinet...
Martha Argerich, from Buenos Aires, won the first prize of piano."
What do you remember of this contest?
Oh, this was my second contest...
Because 15 days before I did the Bolzano Contest in Italy
And you won it (Martha: Yes)
Which was my first.
All of this was new for me, because I didnít expect to get through elimination rounds
Then I didnít work after I played, for the next round
Then I was still overtaken at last
At the last minute I had to prepare forÖ
In fact I find that in the profession of a conductor,
a thing which I really miss, is the true contact with the instrument
To make music
yes to make music spontaneously
If I want to play music now
I have the right, what could I do?
Do you understand?
I can work on a score,
- to play violin -
Iím speaking about the conductor profession,
this is a thing reallyÖ
You have the physical contact with the music when youíre in front of your orchestra
Yes this is another pleasure, this is a greater pleasure I think
Because youíre not really responsible,
At a certain point youíre swimming inside things
Youíre creating without really doing it by yourself
Youíre enveloped... inside the scores, I have to say
This is quite a great pleasure. It is extraordinary
What is the relation with the conductor when youíre playing?
.. is it a relation from master to ...
No not this, not at all
It is an agreement, or a disagreement,
Or we go to feet (?)
We bother, of we emulate (?)
We exchange glances
If itís working well or not
I always ask, after the first movement is over, I say
Charles doesnít like it,
When we do a concerto,
Immediately after the first movement,
I ask ìHow was it?î
Isn't that true?
And for you Charles, the Victoria Hall
What are the memories from your beginnings?
Geneva was where we met.
To startÖ in the corridors of the music school
Noooo, in the lyric one, with Kukutcha.
Then near the music school, we saw each other at the music school
And in my home after
And after, in ë58, I got my Orchestral Conduction Diploma here
And after, I gave my first concert here as well
But I worked mostly at Geneva Radio at this time in the studioÖ
The studio is now called Ancermet studio, I donít know if it still exists, I havenít been back
It is still existing, but I donít know if it is for a long time
But in any case...
Victoria Hall, for me, has many memories...
As a student, because for 3 years I came to all of the rehearsals of the Ancernetís studio
I would listen to the other conductors who conducted the ìOrchestre de la Suisse Romandeî
And this is how you learn to do your job, in coming to the rehearsal with the scores
And in listening to all the veteran conductors
to see how they did it.
I learned all of it in this context
Ancermet never gave lessons
I couldnít take any lessons, but
I frequently went to his home at Belo Street
I remember he said: ìCome after lunch,î, we talked a little bit
I came with the score, he gave me some tips
And I remember when we did the ìnoceî, we recorded in the following
- But such a long time ago! -
Ö one of the four pianos
I still had all the indications from Ancermet with the slightly adjusted rhythms
I gained a lot
I mean the heritage
Not only the personal contacts I had with him
This is all the Swiss Romande ... at this time the musical taste of the Swiss Romande was formed by Ancermet this is an evidence
What he liked, what he didnít like
We never played Schˆnberg
We didnít play the twelve-tone music he didnít like for a long time
But, for the repertoire you are talking about, StravinskyÖ
For all things, he was the champion
From after the war - the First World War.
The Russian ballet resumed their repertoire just before the war
Stravinsky... all his masterpieces were resumed by Ancermet
And the story of the soldier too.
All of this, is part of a cultural heritage
Which is still mine today, and of which Iím very proud
You have worked very seriously then, from the age of 5 years old
Scaramuzza, he is an Italian teacher formed atÖ
And during this period did you start to give some professional concerts?
Yes, indeed at 8 years old, I played with an orchestra under his conduction
Beethovenís Piano Concerto No. 1
At the age of 8
Yes, the D sharp of Mozart, with a French suite in the middle
This Beethoven concerto, you played it in Geneva and in Lausanne
You were 8 years old
This was my first concerto with an orchestra
Is such a thing really possible?
Yes, I actually have a record
(Charles: I listened to it, it is fantastic)
How would you judge that interpretation now?
This is interesting... there are some things to learn
I donít know because, at that time
I was working only on thatÖ perhapsÖ
The taste, the sensitivity, the virgin felicitations (?)
This is interesting because there is another intensity, another thing, which is flowing...
And the children, you know the childrenÖ
Have some intuition, yes
Yes, this is intuition
But what would be the difference between the actual interpretation nowadays, and the childhood interpretation?
I didnít really listen to the First Beethoven
But the D sharp Mozart I didÖ
I can answer this question because I know this path wellÖ
At this time, Martha was playing this concerto and some sonatas
But since, she has done all the chamber music;
The violin sonatas, the cello sonatas
And this is like a piece
We learn with the continuous contact with a composer
Mainly with the works we know, but those we donít know
I donít know what we lose and what we gain?
This is a little bit complex
This is a strange thing with time; what we gain, what we lose?
We see what we lose
But I donít know, yes
I think this is likeÖ
This is like to decipher a Mozart Sonata, it is easy
When you start to work it though, it becomes diabolic
What you have to find at the third level is this first thing with all the experience youíve done in the work
This is the musicianís way from cradle to grave
We need those experiences, and
this is maturity
This spontaneity, this intuition, when youíre young you canít digest all of it
This is intuition, this is talent
We see the talent at the primitive state very young
But after I see the way she does her phrases in the second movement nowadays
[I realize that] she didnít do that ten years ago
We feel the experience, and the contact with the composer
She has an ever beautiful tone; a great pianism
We feel this additional dimension which appears at each measure
You were married for four or five years
Yes, but after we also played together a lot
You were separated, but you played together a lot
We are very friendly [we are good friends]
Prior to getting married, we knew each other for 10 years
But we were good friends andÖ
Perhaps we are back in this period!
It is like the story of the Mozart sonata
Again, we find this spontaneity - those things from childhood
It is a long relationship, we met in ë58
Our first concert was in ë59, we have known each other for a long time
I was playing the Ravel concerto with him and...
Interviewer: It was your first concert as a conductor
Yes, and I was his first soloist!
It was my first professional contract, just after the end of my studies in Geneva
She was my first soloist, and strangely we got married exactly 10 years after
But I didnít know the second movement yet
I didnít want to play front him
He said: ìWill you play it?î
I responded, ìNo no no!î
Do you remember?
We had a rehearsal with Megalof at the second piano
It was in the music school room
They played the first movement and the finale
But for the second movement: nothing
I said, ìListen, come to Lausanne,î We were at my parentsí house...
I was wanting to know a little bit what wouldÖ It was my first concert, you can imagineÖ
I had never done any Ravel, and she hadnít either.
For me [as a conductor] it is important, I have to face the orchestra
To be sure of what I was doing etcÖ
But, there was nothing to do. She didnít want to play any note of this...
And the worst part is that at 9 in the evening she said, ìI will go to bed now.î
I never listened to it. Do you know what I mean?
If we ever had one problem in our life, it what this rhythm [pattern?]
Coming from Latin America, from Argentina
It was a time when we were going to bed at 5 ñ 6 in the morning
All our friends were there
And me, who was working at 9 in the morning, I couldnítÖ
We had a rhythm of life which was incompatible
Then, to hear ìI will go to sleepî at 9 in the eveningÖ
It was quite strange
She went upstairs,
But what she was really doing,
was to memorize her second movement and work on it
She played it the next day in the morning
See how beautiful it is...
Listen to the music
Annie: ì6?î Charles: ìNo, 3î
Annie: ì5?î Charles: ìNo, 4î
Itís all on the ground!
[Speaking about Annie, their daughter] She has a child
We are a grandfather and grandmother!
You know, a small child - 2 years old
He will be 2 years old on the 5th of December
She didnít go into music?
No, she started a little bit
Itís her fault [speaking about Martha], she discouraged her all her life
No, thatís not it! She couldnít concentrate
Interviewer: It proves that the musical gene was not inherited.
She was, or is, very musical
I think she could [have, if she wanted]
But she wasnít patient enough with herself
When youíre child, you are not patient.
After either perhaps [?]
To play an instrument you need
A lot of patience with yourself
Or you need somebody who forces you
But, we were in Argentina
We went on a trip
I took Martha to some far away countries
We went as far as Bolivia with the car from Buenos Aires
We went back trough the Chaco Desert, I donít know if you can imagine but
there is lot of dust
We crossed this desert with the car, and our daughter, Annie, was in the back seat
She was crying a lot because of the dust
But she was also singing
the theme of the concerto 503 by Mozart in the tone
She was singing that continually
At this time, Martha was studying this concerto
She heard it, [and] she reproduced it with the good rhythm
She had some musical qualities
She has a very good ear and lot of appreciation for music.
To be in ìtop formî
Then you have to work, then be on the top
This is very psychological too
What do you mean by that?
you donít have to be continually fixed [glued] to your piano..
It will not guarantee that youíll be better
Sometimes I was glued to the piano, but it was not working
And at other times [I was] less glued, and it was working
It depends on many things
If you work cool
Or if it is hysterical, if you are absolutelyÖ
If you think ìI have to do thatÖî
I missed 4 days, I donít have timeÖ
Then at this moment
It is another work ìqui sono relaxî [that sounds relaxing?]
Isnít it a technical improvement, to maintain abilityÖ
Which implies working [practicing] regularly?
It [technical ability] doesnít go away like that
The technique will not fly away, hopefully, my god.
There are some people who played scales all day
No, I have never done that
What did you do then?
No scales, never
Charles: Exercises? Martha: Never.
You know what I do [speaking to Charles]
What youíre doing now,
I donít know what you did at 2 and a half
But I have never done scales
Then what did you do?
But other things, I was working the pieces [themselves], and if it didnít work, I worked the passage [that I was having trouble with]
You mean that you worked [your] technique [with the] music directly
You have never done exercises, at all?
A little when I was eleven
It is not because you did an exercise book a difficulty of ìXî, that you will be able to play it in the piece
Because it is differently placed
Take time with (third?), it will not guarantee that you can play the Chopin study on thirds
No, but there is also a work [which is] purely mechanical
If you work octaves, it doesnít imply you can play octave from this [piece] or that [piece]
Yes, but the mechanical work thenÖ
To loosen the fingers
There are some methods to loosen the fingers, to work some specific problems
How do you do that?
When you are little or when youíre older? It dependsÖ
When I was little?
They loosened because I articulated [the piece]
At the ages of 6 and 7, I articulated in the pieces I was playing
I worked different ways, someone told meÖ
Interviewer: Isnít it that you donít really have technical problems?
I still have some technical problems, of course
Technique is not a separate thing
One says, ìI have my technique, it is hereî
And now I can play.
I donít think like that
I think each piece has its own difficulty
Which is unique to each piece
And you canítÖ
It is like that for me, I still feel it is like that
I canít say, ìI have a technique.î
Some people said to me, ìYou have got a wonderful technique; you donít have any difficultiesÖî
When I start to study something, it is difficult for me
You like this tempo?
It is different, with the public weíre still more excited
You will play this Tchaikovsky concerto [soon], because it is on the program you will have at the Lausanne Festival some days away
It is a concerto you know well; you played it together often
Yes, a couple times
How many times?
Not too much
About 10 times. I have got the places here on the score.
I see, I noticeÖ 10 times last year
Do you like this concerto very well then?
Iím fond of it
You know, it is very strange
There is an attitude I donít like from the public
From some of the public concerning Tchaikovsky
It is popular music [a popular piece?]
I mean popular in the good way, which pleases, spontaneously
Perhaps someone got this. It was played very often.
Some distinguished people think this is a minor music
I think it is a prodigious piece of music
It is such an expression of a time
It is a fetish concerto for you
Yes, there are lot of sentimental stories with this concerto
when we saw [each other] again before getting married
It was the time I was working on this concerto
We worked together for one month
She should [?] play it in England with another conductor
then I participated in the planning of the concerto
Can we get an idea of the tempo you use for this [Tchaikovskyís 1st] concerto?
Do you want to play the first few measures?
If we do that now then... Ok
Not too fast.
And after there is the
the big cadence
The tempo of the first allegro
It is wonderful.
Play a part of that tempo.
Is music an essential part of your life?
If one day you are told, ìWe will deprive you of your piano.î Would this be a catastrophe?
I donít know.
You could live without it?
I think so, yes.
It has never happened to me.
Do you think, Charles Dutoit,
that she could live without it?
And that you can live out of music?
It would be more difficult for me.
What is the ambition of ëthe careerí? It is not very interesting.
To do more concerts, to earn more money, to do more concerts, to earn more money.
To play in more cities.
What is the career...
This is that... [?]
From this point of view, it is not very interesting
I am not ambitious for that.
I still find that Martha could do things more quickly
More rational [logical, thinking]
The discussion becomes difficult because I am not pianist myself.
She takes refuge in this criteria to annoy meÖ
But she has obviously got colossal facilities
She is a little bit lazy you see
She likes to live; she interested in something else
She isnít a fanatic for
[the] concert performerís career.
All of this mixed with some of the frustration of a child prodigy
There is still a kind of problem between her job as an international concert performer
and her real desire to do that
to live her womanís life
Interviewer: And on that subject, how can you organize your life, we know what it isÖ
We didnít plan it yet.
To be honest, we are still planning.
But it is not stable.
There was a time you didnít see each other.
One was playing in New York, and the other in Tokyo
Particularly the first two years.
But now it is better, because we have the same impresario, and he tries to compromiseÖ
If I donít play with Charles, then he is freeÖ
And if he is conducting when I am not playing, then Iím free
Then we can be together
Do you feel that after being husband and wifeÖ
years gone, your relationship was enhanced in another way?
Yes, I think so, yes
Do you agree?
Do we know each other well or not?
We predict ourselves.
I think yes
It is a difficult form of friendship to describe
There is a complicity.
We share lot of things.
He is Libra and Iím a Gemini
And it implies some things
Then I donít argue any more
When we attend at your the rehearsal
This is the same astrological family...
As I just do, then it doesnít mislead
Something passes tremendously between you [?]
It is the same story, this is experience
Of tenderness of friendshipÖ
The musical experience is important
All those concertos
Martha never played the same thing
This is fantastic, each concert is spontaneous ñ there are things which go differently
We can predict these things; this is this musical complicity which is important
And today, are you happy that both of you will get to play with the Swiss Normande orchestra again?
I find it fantastic
They play well
I think they are better today than at the time... in the beginning of the 80ís
All orchestras in the world rejuvenate, there are some very bright young musicians Ö
This is a very good orchestra, it is marvelous to play in Victoria Hall
The soundÖ they are lucky to have such a theatre.