Krystian Zimerman’s perfectionism appears to know no bounds: he is reported to play only ten percent of his entire repertoire at public concerts. And at a generous estimate, only ten percent of this ten percent appears on recordings. “In 1980 I made a list,” the Polish master pianist said in an interview years ago, “which included the pieces I wanted to be able to play. Believe me, I still haven’t completed this list, and I know for certain today that there isn’t enough time left.” A terrible shame! After all, time seems to stand still when Krystian Zimerman plays – you cannot help but hold your breath, because this poet on the piano again and again penetrates into unimagined areas of musical lyricism whose atmospheric depth is unequalled.
“With art, we artists,” he says, “are faced with a paradox. What is music? It is the organisation of emotions in time. Music, strange as it may seem, has little to do with sound. In recent years, we have pushed the art of sound again and again in the direction of an obsessive tonal art. But I’m not looking for a nice sound. I’m looking for an appropriate sound.” He continues: “I do not play the notes. I play the reason why the composer wrote the notes ...” This perfection also includes restriction: Krystian Zimerman only gives around 50 concerts a year – and his recital in the Philharmonie is one of these rare events.