A.R.: I don’t like the word ” romanticism,” because that’s something that disgusts me, you know. It disgusted even Chopin, did you know that?
G.G.: No, I didn’t.
A.R.: Even Chopin, who lived in the Byronic time when people were ashamed not to have a romantic duel or not to faint or something like that, you know. All those things were accepted – that was how one had to live. Well, I inherited a little bit still from that time. Machines came to me as a great surprise – a little frightening at first. The first time I heard a radio, i thought, ” What is it speaking of?” Even now, sometimes I get shocked when I get home and suddenly I hear a man’s voice in my wife’s room and I think ” She has a lover” or something , you know. But it is a radio, it is only the radio, and I am not quite used to it. It is all for me still a great surprise, a great novelty.
G.G.: Well, I did a radio program last year about an extraordinary man who lives in Quebec. his name is Jean Le Moyne, and he is a theologian primarily but also a poet and a theorist of technology. He does all those things, but the spirit of theology is still a part of everything he says and does. Anyway, he was asked about technology and what it was doing to people, and he said, ” Well, there should be no contradiction between technology and the humanities, in particular theology.” I won’t attempt to quote him word for word, but he said something to the effect that technology has now given us something like a network – a radio network, a television network, an oil network , a railway network – a communications network of all kinds – and this network has circumscribed the earth in such a way that we can no longer go to nature, we can only go to nature thorough the network. But when we do that, we realize that technology exercises a great charity on our lives. And he meant , I think , that it’s not there to hurt people, to hinder them, to impede them, to get inthe way of human contact. It is there to speed it, to make it more direct and more immediate, and to remove people from the very things – the self-conscious things, the compaetitive things – that are detrimental to society in fact. I believe in that idea. I believe that technology is a charitable enterprise; that when one makes a recording, as you did with the F-minor Brahms, you are influencing not only many more people numerically than you could perhaps in a concert, but influencing them forever – not just for one moment, one evening, which they may or may not recall, but forever. You will have been able to change their lives forever, as my notion of what Brahms represents has been changed by your recording.
A.R.: Well, you begin to persuade me. I was born in another epoch, you see. I trail the old things that hang all around me like – well, like the tin cans they hang on the wedding car, you know. They stay with me. But you were born into another world than myself – therefore, all your own talent is being taken in by that , is absorbed by that, by the circumstances of your entourage. My children look at the world as though it came togther with teh airplane. Well, there you are, you see. I remember still that I was dreaming of Daedalus and Icarus – I feel so sorry for him that he lost his way. But somewhere , we are going to meet with our ideas, you know. I can’t sayhow that will happen, exactly, but remember my words: somewhere we will meet.