QUESTION: To repeat the question I asked a moment ago: don't you ever feel betrayed by different performances of the same piece?
J.C.: I am going to tell you a story. One day, around 1940, a musician, a pianist, phoned me to say that he was coming from South America, where he had played The Perilous Night, and he wanted me to hear it. He wanted to know what I thought about it, no matter what the cost. So, I went to his studio, and he banged out a Perilous Night that was perfectly horrible! At that moment, I would have preferred never to have written The Perilous Night! In the years that followed, when pianists came to me while my works were not yet published, I advised them especially not to play The Perilous Night. And then, by chance, in the course of a tour in the southern United States - it was at a university, I believe - another pianist said to me: 'I play your Perilous Night, and I would like you to hear it.' I replied that I did not want to. He insisted. I ended up letting myself be convinced, and I followed him to his piano. I listened. It was marvelous.
from For the Birds