Before playing last night to a wonderful group of listeners, a newcomer, a total stranger, asked that most perceptive question.  The choice of pieces is directed by the quality of attentiveness with which I have become familiar now after several years of playing in this intimate circumstance.  I feel no need to control, to categorize, to predict what will happen when I play, so I allow the selection of pieces to be unconscious.
In fact, one of the pieces I played I had "figured out" just that morning: A Brahms Intermezzo  (Op. 118, No. 2 ), a work that had puzzled me for years.
After I played it one of the listeners said it was like listening to Brahms talking to himself and, in the most Brahmsian manner, not even knowing what he was saying.  This is the sort of reaction I most treasure.
 


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