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.