This year is the 200 year anniversary of the birth of my favorite composer of all time: Chopin.
As I write this I’m listening to his Prelude #8 F Major….wait…it ended. Now it’s Chopin Grande Valse Op42 Sometimes I think there is no Chopin piece that I don’t have memorized (not that I can play that many of them) and love. This particular piece made me think of a cat chasing a fly when I was a young boy, it goes breathtakingly fast and then sort of stops, and then super fast, and then delicate, etc. Perhaps, as a piano player (sort of) what I’m amazed about is this little melody at the beginning of the piece and that sounds like a little singing in one part of the piece that is played by emphasizing the third note in string of rapid triplets. Click here to here just the triplets as melody. Click here to here just the triplets as melody. So hard to do well.
But I digress.
I heard an interview with the legendary violinist Itzhak Perlman where he proclaimed that as a violinist, he was deprived of Chopin and a bit jealous of piano players. I understand what he means: Chopin’s music is unique. Highly expressive, with changing modality and subtle nuances characterize his work. To me they represent, through music, feelings and emotions that could never fully be expressed in words. For example, who has not heard the funeral march from Piano Sonata No. 2 in B-flat minor, Op. 35? Or the Prelude 20 in C Minor – which is the start and end of Barry Manilow’s “Could it be Magic”.
I, for one, will fulfill a goal on this 50th year of my own life to find three challenging Chopin pieces and enjoy learning and playing them for the rest of my own.