Monday, March 1, 2010

Happy Birthday, Frederic 3.1.10

I fell in love with Chopin when I was very young. One of my more vivid memories as a young piano student was playing his Prelude in b minor for my teacher and her friend, and seeing tears in my teacher's eyes when I was finished.

Good thing I've gotten better since then. Ba dum bum.

No, but honestly, that was a very isolated incident, and it's not like I was a child prodigy. I definitely wasn't. But something sparked in me that day, an understanding of the communicative power of music and the emotions it can weave in us. I'm sure it's no coincidence that Chopin was my very favorite composer for years and years and years. He is, after all, one of the kings of the piano composers, showing us its possibilities in melody, in intimacy, in contrasts, in passion. So many of the recitals I have performed over the years have included pieces by Chopin: the first Ballade, all 24 of the Op. 28 Preludes, various Etudes. And of course, so many Nocturnes. I adore the Nocturnes, and so does David. When I play for him, I almost always include Nocturnes in the mix.

My music collection proves how often I've returned to the music of Chopin over the years. My Nocturnes have been ripped in three or four pieces for who knows how long. My Preludes and Etudes no longer have a front cover. My teachers' and my markings are all over, reminding me of tricky passages or intricate fingerings. They are a map of my musical journey.

So while I have found other passions to join my first, Frederic Chopin will always have a special place in my heart. After all, you never forget your first love.

Happy 200th Birthday, Frederic Chopin. My world is a much lovelier place for you having lived in it.


Lara said...

Love it, even though I'm not super familiar with Chopin (not being much of a pianist...)

Joel just gave a lecture on Chopin in his music history class, and he said a couple students were crying at the listening examples. I think that's so cool. (Does that make me a sadist? Really...I just think music's power is cool, that's all!)

Gaylene said...

I cry at Chopin! He was/is such an asset to the music world

Malisa said...

I was listening to 89.1 this week and there was some tribute to Chopin. The music was SO touching, that I actually wrote it down and promised myself to find the sheet music to it. Just went out to the car to find it...let's see...Op. 70, Waltz #2. Are you familar with this?

Linda said...

I love to play Chopin, too--and listen to him being played. It seems like so many great musicians died young--referring to your other post about him being 38. Mendelssohn, who I've been thinking about a lot lately, because of his Songs Without Words, was 39. Too early!