Rudolf Buchbinder Votes Against “Authenticity” Before He Votes For It

Stuart Isacoff profiles Viennese pianist Rudolf Buchbinder in Thursday’s Wall Street Journal. The article’s pull quote was the bolded part of this paragraph:

But fitting together, in Mr. Buchbinder’s view, never means compromising a personal vision. “When you grow up in Vienna,” he explains, “you feel lucky, because you believe you are in the musical center of the world—the home of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven. Yet the only reason this music is still alive after hundreds of years is that there is no such thing as ‘an authentic’ interpretation. If there were, the music would be dead. Take a sample of recordings of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony by 10 conductors, and they will all be different. You can’t say there is one right way.”

Fair enough, but this later paragraph puts a different spin on things:

… Mr. Buchbinder also likes to play music by George Gershwin, though he won’t play the “Rhapsody in Blue” with orchestra, because the composer didn’t write it for those forces.

Wait. So there’s no such thing as authenticity, but he won’t play an orchestra arrangement of Rhapsody in Blue, because Gershwin didn’t write it for those forces. That seems like a concern about authenticity to me or something very close to it.

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