At every concert I leave a lot to the moment. I must have the unexpected, the unforeseen. I want to risk, to dare. I want to be surprised by what comes out. I want to enjoy it more than the audience. That way the music can bloom anew. It's like making love. The act is always the same, but each time it's different.
Never sound pompous. You always sound noble, noble. Absolute character of music is nobility. Even popular music can be noble, you see. If it's not noble, then it's not very good... Music is an art of emotion, of nobility, of dignity, of greatness, of love, of tenderness. All that must be brought out in music but never a show of pompousness.
...stories about [the German composer Johannes] Brahms's rudeness and wit amused me in particular. For instance, I loved the one about how a great wine connoisseur invited the composer to dinner. 'This is the Brahms of my cellar,' he said to his guests, producing a dust-covered bottle and pouring some into the master's glass. Brahms looked first at the color of the wine, then sniffed its bouquet, finally took a sip, and put the glass down without saying a word. 'Don't you like it?' asked the host. 'Hmm,' Brahms muttered. 'Better bring your Beethoven!'
Composing a concert is like composing a menu.... If you start with light pieces and play a 45-minute sonata after the interlude, it's like starting dinner with hors d'oeuvres and dessert and finishing with a Châteaubriand and vegetables.