This is a very, very special photo for me. Emilia Fadini and Laia Martín, one next to another. You can not see me, because I was 600 km away, but at the same time I’m there, 100%. From Emilia Fadini, today still very bright at 89 years old, a thousand things emerged in my life. In those distant years 80, my passion for questioning about the music I did found in her and her courses a path that led from then, solidly, to look at the treaties (even more than the instruments) the answers to the questions that arose when observing the scores. Thanks to her I discovered the clavichord, I heard for the first time the names of Santa María, Diruta, and many others whose existence I know that many of my readers have discovered in my books, and I began to live in first person an intimate way of sharing music whose values had nothing to do with the ones that were being proposed to me, in those same years, in the conservatory classes.

This week, at 20th FIMTE – International Festival of Spanish Keyboard Music, so brilliantly organised by Luisa Morales, Emilia has shared the FIMTE Symposium with Laia Martin, who from that lineage is, in many ways, the continuation. Without me being seen, in this picture I am in the middle. As the current teacher of one and the old student of another, seeing them together gives me a wonderful feeling. Without what I saw in those Emilia classes, I doubt that Laia would even know who I am, nor would I be orienting her doctoral thesis at the University of Aveiro, nor would she, most likely, have been in Mojácar this week. And that is the meaning of that peculiar sowing that is teaching. Teaching and also writing, which allows you to share with many people what you consider important even away from your physical presence, in a process that often ends in a future whose trajectories move far, out of sight. But when these trajectories intersect, as has happened these days in the FIMTE, even without having been there, happiness is very deep.


I am often told that in today’s musical world everybody seeks perfection. Students, teachers, juries, producers, critics, and concert players; all would be apparently obsessed with perfection. This is not my perception at all. Many students certainly are preoccupied with it, often encouraged by their teachers. And this is sometimes (not always) the concern of members of juries. But my understanding is that many teachers, juries, and musicians are highly attracted to other very different dimensions of music. This, in any case, is not my point here. Nor is it the actual definition of what we call “perfection” that interests me. My focus is: why should we even need perfection?

Perfection is boring, in any aspect of life. It is practical, if we are referring to machines. But in people it is tiresome, and even suspicious. No, I quite definitely do not like perfection. But let’s go further. Perfection is fake. Always. It does not exist. We humans are not perfect. What we call perfection is just the closest possible approximation to an idea. That idea possibly is perfect. But the perfection of the most perfect of our products is not real, never will be. Making perfection the goal of our activity is an escape, a flight from reality. It is an attempt to surrender to something superior, something imagined, a chimera. In a certain sense, it is a religious yearning, a leap of faith. And its pursuance is the best possible way to end up frustrated and uncomfortable with our bodies, our daily life, and our immediate surroundings. If our goal is to remind ourselves that another more perfect world exists, and that it is not part of this life we live, then obsession for perfection is a splendid tool. But if we can think of our life in a radically different way, the quest for perfection is our worst enemy.