What is the difference between music reproduction and interpretation? What does “rubato” mean? How is it possible to change the phrasing and expression of a classical music work, still respecting the composers’ ideas?
In this unique project, a human pianist, Roberto Prosseda, challenges a robot-pianist, TeoTronico. They will play the same pieces and the audience will notice how different they can sound, depending on the interpretation. The robot literally follows the indications in the score, without adding anything to it, while Roberto Prosseda adds what we call “interpretation”. Roberto Prosseda and TeoTronico will also discuss and debate their own performances, commenting and criticizing each other, in order to stimulate a better perception of the music from the audience.
TeoTronico vs Roberto Prosseda
The debate on the role of the interpreter has been open for many decades. It has often been discussed how an interpreter can go towards a personal-creative-arbitrary interpretation of the score. This concert-challenge is intended to renew the piano recital format and to give the public more incentives for a conscious, critical and participative listening. The program is divided into three parts. In the first part, we have the real challenge: Roberto Prosseda and the robot will alternate at the piano, performing the same pieces (selected from the audience favorite classical music works). The robot will literally reproduce the score, and soon after Roberto Prosseda will repeat the same piece giving a more “human” expression, in order to highlight the differences between a mere reproduction and a real, natural interpretation.
The second part will see the robot committed to re-incarnate the great pianists of the past (Rachmaninoff, Busoni, Hoffman), reproducing their piano rolls. The aesthetic debate then moves on the history of piano interpretation, offering very seldom played performances which made the history of piano interpretation over the past 100 years.
In the third and last part the robot will perform original music for player piano, such as Etude for pianola by Stravinsky and two studies of Conlon Nancarrow: a cult composer in some intellectual circles, which was among the first composers to fully understand the potential of the player piano. Ligeti took inspiration from him for many of his music, and openly, for his studies of piano, which will run the No. 14, in the original version for player-piano.
Part one: Human Pianist vs Robot Pianist
The robot reproduces midi files "Robotics". Each song is performed soon after by Roberto Prosseda.
Chopin: Nocturne op. 9 No 2 in e flat major
Scarlatti: Sonata K 427
Mozart: Turkish March
Chopin: op. 25 No. 2
Part two: the robot reproduces piano rolls recorded by great pianists
Liszt Transcendental study No. 5 "Feux Follets"
Rimsky-Korsakov: Flight of the Bumblebee (roll by Rachmaninoff)
Mendelssohn: Spinning Song (roll by Rachmaninoff)
Joplin: Maple Leaf Rag
Liszt: La Campanella (roll by Busoni)
Chopin: Valse op 64 No 1 (roll by Hoffman)
Part three: the robot plays music for player piano.
Stravinsky: Etude for pianola (1915)
Nancarrow: Study No. 2a and no. 7 for the player piano
Ligeti: Study No. 14 for the player piano
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