Strong words in a recent La Repubblica interview with young Iranian pianist and Bach specialist, Ramin Bahrami, who slams Italian pianist Giovanni Allevi, criticises President Obama, and recounts heartbreaking stories from his childhood as an Iranian citizen during the Iran Revolution.
The 34-year-old pianist left Iran at age 14 to attend Conservatorio di Milano. One year into his studies, his brother called from Tehran and told him that they killed his father who had been taken from the house and imprisoned by "Islamic fascists". After two days of crying, the first piece he played was Schubert's B-flat Sonata D. 960. Now he lives in Stuttgart and he recently collaborated with furry friend Riccardo Chailly and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra.
Bahrami's been playing Bach for ages and credits Bach for literally saving his life. He fell under Bach's charms when he was only 5 years old, one Autumn afternoon in Tehran. He was listing to a CD of Glenn Gould playing Bach's Partita no. 6 which was an epiphany that the world was a colorful, magical kaleidoscope place, full of figures.
He continues on Bach:
My dad wrote me from prison: "Pay attention to Bach, he'll never leave you alone." I listened to him and Bach saved me from suicide. I chose not to do drugs, not to drink, but to play the piano. And to play only Bach.
In this world that's currently falling apart, art is our salvation [...] Bach can save us.
And while praising the value of artistic merits, he slams Italian pianist, Giovanni Allevi. Allevi is sort of like a watered-down Italian version of Lang(x2) -- a crossover pianist who gets accused of putting marketing buzz above the music.
Art is without value. Without music I would have ended-up in a mental institution. When the Islamic fascists came to our house to drag my father away, I was still in Iran. At that point I started playing the piano but I really didn't like it that much. I love it as an instrument of communication, but that can lead to exhibitionism, vulgarity, exhibitionism, and a circus -- which is pointless. Bach teaches humility, how to create dialogue, and lets you get lost in space and time. There's nothing superfluous. Never. A lesson that Mr. Allevi, who masquerades himself as a music prophet, shows that he hasn't yet learned. But also charlatans have the right to live in democracy.
Don't worry Allevi! Bahrami goes on to chide Obama, calling his solidarity with Iran "fake and useless". Meeeooowwwrrr. Claws out, kittens!