Your new disc Four Worldsfeatures a lot of Rachmaninov. What is it about his music that speaks to you?
Rachmaninov’s music is diverse and requires very fine artistic insights to investigate its deepest beauty. I don’t think Rachmaninov’s piano compositions are simply virtuosic show pieces. Musically, his work often displays a kind of ‘tragic beauty’ and inspires the listener’s imagination. When I perform the Serenade in B Flat Minor, for example, I imagine that a dancer on stage tries to display the loneliness and gloominess of the music.
Moye Chen. Photo courtesy of Universal Music
Are there any pianists who have particularly inspired your approach to his music?
The recordings played by Rachmaninov himself are rarities – even today Rachmaninov’s interpretations are still attractive and advanced. In addition to his own recordings, my favourite Rachmaninov specialist is Mikhail Pletnev, his renditions of Rachmaninov are creative, unique but convincing, and the tempi he uses in Rachmaninov’s music are really ideal. Michelangeli recorded a fabulous Fourth Concerto. It’s the best recording of this concerto for my taste (Rachmaninov’s Concerto No 4 is probably my favourite piano concerto) even though he didn’t play Rachmaninov very frequently.