I conducted an interview with Valery Afanassiev after his Tokyo lecture in October 2005. Valery Afanassiev is a famous pianist, conductor, performer, novelist, and poet, who was born in Moscow, former USSR in 1947 and exiled himself to Begium in 1972. Since then, he has performed mainly in Paris.
(Winter moon)First question concerns today’s theme. I think generally speaking music is dialectic between the metaphysical and the physical, because works always have composers, and composers are determined by his society, his age, and his personality, including his thought, emotions and feelings. On the other hand everybody doesn’t become Beethoven. He became Beethoven by intervening of contingent necessity, namely God. Let me introduce an interesting example about the metaphysical. Japanese oldest anthology, MANYOUHSHU edited in 8th century, includes many nameless poets. These poems are called “ the poems composed by nobody”. It had been thought that the poems of MANYOHSHU were created by gods. The names of its composers were not regarded as important at that time. I think this is also one of metaphysical aspects. In other words there is some relationship between the nameless of composers and the metaphysical. What would you think of this matter?
(Valery Afanassiev)I think it is possible that God composes works, not in terms of rhethoric. Bruckner was dictating his works and he always said," An angel makes me compose them".
(WM)Second question is related with so-called 9.11. 9.11 has influenced many artists, particularly film directors such as Vim Venders, poets, novelists, painters, and musicians. Those artists can express it as a theme or motive of their works directly. However playing music is difficult to articulate it immediately. I think playing music is criticism and interpretation of works. And I think your playing style has actuality because you understand that works represent some aspects of the real world and your approach to them reveals the structure of it. So I think playing music could express how our world is after 9.11 by selecting works and exposing their meanings. What would you think of this matter?
(V.A)I''m influenced by watching the events of 9.11 on T.V. many times. The impact on my mind might increase gradually, but what I express in a concert hall is insistently "My Story". The playing style of conductors in Baroque Age were not at all influenced by the external factors such as their mother's death. Because the tune has its own logic.
(W.M)The last question is about your poems. I have been so attracted by your poems, and just tried to translate into Japanese. I feel your poems are similar to your playing style, because both of them intend to approach the hidden structure of the world. Actually I compose poems too. So I’m interested in the moment at which a poem was born. Would you explain when your Muse comes from? And I have tried to translate your poems on the jacket of Beethoven CD. I am looking for your other poems to read. Could you tell me the title and the publisher of your poetry book in English?
(V.A)I don't write poems now. My Muse is burdensome and lose my health. I'm tired and have sleepless nights in creating poems. Instead of it, I annotate on The DIvine Comedy and write a new novel called "Flying Dutchman".