It comes from triumphing in the Proms, where -Saint-Saëns through- proved that he is not only an introspective and melancholic pianist and that in his palette of records there is also an unbridled expansiveness. Playing in a crowded Royal Albert Hall is the last milestone in the career of Javier Perianes (Nerva, 1978).
Other recent ones are his appearances in Ibermúsica with the Vienna Philharmonic and the Concertgebouw. The latter mobilized him only three hours before his concert in Madrid to replace Jean-Yves Thibaudet, who suffered an untimely indisposition. Perianes had 10 minutes to rehearse but, already on stage, his pulse did not shake. That aplomb, added to his scientific rigor in the study of the scores, the fine touch and the poetic suggestion, have elevated him to the status of coveted figure. The most prestigious orchestras and audiences give it away. Those who are coming are intense months, so he does not stop trying. Until the phone rings. And leave for a while (about an hour) the piano to chat with El Cultural from his home in Seville, where he moved last year.
Question.- Open season of the OCNE. Schumann on lecterns and David Afkhamen on the podium. How do you see the phenomenon that has brought your arrival to this orchestra?
Answer.- He is a musician of the highest level, but his success starts a process that was already underway. There is much to thank to his predecessor, Josep Pons. We owe a great debt to the immense work he did. Pons, by the way, is one of the first Afkham fans. David is now coloring the orchestra he wants, with his seal and his own identity.
Q. – Then he goes to Los Angeles to place himself under Dudamel’s orders. Although it is not so much, it does not seem that a pyrotechnic director is the most compatible with his intimate pianism. They are two disparate codes of yours, are not they?
R. – When we sit down to study the score of Mozart’s Concerto 27 that will be the only code worth. There is no more history. And this of the codes, on the other hand, is relative. I come from playing in the Proms the Second concert of Saint-Saëns, that of intimist has just the first two pages, then it is a party. It is true that my last recordings, Mendelssohn, Chopin, Debussy, Schubert, place me in a more intelligent, more intimate register, but I move in all areas. The same Concert 27 has a second movement very transcendent and deep recollection that contrasts with the third, pure fireworks of energy and positivism.
My last recordings place me in a more intelligent, more intimate register, but I move in all areas ”
Q.- In February 2018 you will be at Ibermúsica presenting your Bartók album with a Munich Philharmonic commanded by Heras-Casado. How is your musical tune with this director?
R. – Pablo and I have a friendship relationship of many years, we already knew of young people here in Andalusia. But we did not meet together on a stage until March of last year, when I debuted with him in the big hall of Carnegie Hall and a week later we did Ravel’s Concert in sun with Netherlands Radio at the Concertgebouw. And we have continued to meet with other orchestras afterwards and we have projects together for the future. There is a trust and a direct language between the two. He is an extremely sensitive and flexible director, very respectful. Our understanding is extraordinary and very fluid. It’s something that also happens with Mena, Pablo González, Dutoit …
Q.- Does the career of the Philharmonic of Vienna last year at Ibermúsica consider your career so far?
R.- I do not know … What is clear is that the memory of that is very special: the sound of the string of that orchestra is moving. The first chord he plays after the small introduction of the piano, the famous one in major, was unforgettable. But in this race you are all the time climbing eight thousand and going down hills. All are challenges so my peak is every hour that I give myself to music.
The parents of Perianes gave him their first piano with the savings they collected by spending many extra hours. To that sacrifice, he reciprocated with more sacrifice. Things could go better or worse, could go ahead as a soloist or not, but it was clear that what depended on himself was not missing. So they prescribed a monotonous recipe for work, work and work. Today, when asked about the keys to his success, he always appeals to that Stakhanovist desire. It is curious that being Andalusian never appeals to the duende. “It’s not that I do not believe but the intangible things, which can not be controlled, I do not know … I am convinced of the study, of the hours of reflection, of planning and organization. The Picasso’s maxim is that the inspiration catches you working but I identify with it. I do not have much faith in chance and chance. I prefer to think that it was the enthusiasm and the work that allowed me to reach my goals “.
P. – But from his piano always emerges the mystery of poetry. Where does it come from?
R. – No idea. Talk about how I play I leave it to the public and critics. I limit myself to transmit the will of a composer. I suppose that my personal experiences have a fundamental influence on that transmission of emotions, but if my piano is more or less lyrical, more or less introspective, I do not enter there. It suits me to protect my mental health.
Schumann 20 years later
If a few years ago someone had told me that I was going to play with the Vienna Philharmonic I would have taken him for crazy ”
Q. – He has stopped being the pianist-young-Spanish-more-promising, a label now imposed on Floristán. How do you feel in the new status of consecrated figure?
R. – The truth is that I have not received any notification informing me of this change of status. There are people who rate my meteoric career but I do not perceive it that way. Everything has been very progressive and very natural. Although it is true that if some years ago someone had told me that I was going to do concerts with the Vienna Philharmonic or the Chicago Symphony, I would have taken it for crazy. Now I have to play again in Madrid the Shumann Concerto with which I debuted with a large symphonic orchestra [that of the RTVE] 20 years ago, and my desire to enjoy and explore are the same. I also maintain my method: I concentrate on the score and I am not very aware of the context.
Q. – Do not you know stage fright then?
R.- Well, there are rooms that impress very much. The Albert Hall, the Carnegie Hall, the Concertgebouw … But, once I sit down at the piano, I do not care where I am, because the responsibility with the music does not change.
Q. – He says that even when he is on the beach he does not stop circling the fingering of a certain passage. Do you ever disconnect from the piano obsession?
R. – Is that music assaults you, is a vocation that one always has inside. This is not like working in an office from 8 to 3, when the time comes you close the window.
Q.- Is it better to disconnect in Seville than in Madrid?
R. – No, neither better nor worse. I suppose that the Andalusians pass us as Galicians: we always have our homeland. I have enjoyed Madrid for almost 20 years and I am always looking forward to returning. Although the truth is that I spend so few weeks a year in my house that it does not matter too much one city that another.
It is not necessary for children to know how to play Mozart but who they were. Music is a tool for dialogue ”
Q. – Do you think that the world of the classic must take note of the self-control of the Proms and shake off a certain snobbery and encorsetamiento that surrounds it?
A.- Any idea to bring the music closer to others seems great to me as long as the maximum standard of interpretation is maintained. People are not stupid and, therefore, you do not have to lower the level to go to a concert. The Proms are a great example: 5,000 people who keep a sepulchral silence, even the thousand who are standing and can move.
Q. – What could be done so that a Perianes concert provokes as much passion as a goal from his admired Ronaldo?
A.- We have been asking the same thing for many years and I have no master idea. Of course I would love for classical music to have an expansive wave similar to the goals of Ronaldo or Messi, but I will only honor the scores.
Q. – At least you will have in mind mistakes that have been made and that discourage young people from approaching, for example, a piano recital, right?
R. – Yes, that is obvious: that in Spain the fine arts are not put into education at the level of other major subjects. It is not necessary for children to play Mozart but they know who it was. Music is a tool that helps dialogue, after all it teaches us to listen. And that makes us more tolerant and better people.