How freely can one interpret a sacred text such as a Beethoven sonata or an article of the Constitution? This book arises from an unusual encounter and the passion shared by the two authors for their respective domains: music and the law. The two fields have many features in common, including the need to restrict one’s creativity in order to respect a text (a regulation or a Bach suite) and the need to reconsider it so as to achieve timeliness and usefulness. Interpreters operate in that sensitive borderline area separating execution and creation, where emphasizing one over the other could lead to garbling the original message. The two authors engage in a concise dialogue, which addresses issues such as the desire for perfection, the allure of virtuosity, the enthusiasm for improvisation, and the most demanding task of all: bringing together past and present. This exploration of unfamiliar territory shows that the two domains are more similar than they appear.
Mario Brunello is one of the world’s most renowned cellists. Besides playing in concert halls and International festivals, he is fond of bringing music beyond its traditional settings, by performing in unusual venues or formats.
Gustavo Zagrebelsky is professor emeritus of Constitutional Law at the University of Turin.