GREAT MUSIC – Chapter 38
The Great Music series returns with a tribute to my favorite composer, Fredrick Chopin. I always found Chopin’s music emotionally stirring, The piece I have selected is his Nocturne in C minor. I first played this piece when I was 16 years old and as a typical teenager, in an emotional turmoil and was immediately in tune with Chopin’s musical emotions.
When I played it ( of course after much practice) the sweet opening half of the piece stirred a kind of melancholy feeling that I could not attribute to any specific cause. But once the emotions were set free, the last half of the piece represented the utter turmoil of emotions bounding around in my head and body, almost like an uncontrollable fire. It is this emotional agitation that Chopin captured in the last half of this piece.
Chopin was born in 1810 just outside of Warsaw. He was considered a child prodigy studied piano at the Warsaw Conservatory starting at age 13. As I have written before, Chopin abandoned everything in his beloved Warsaw at age 20 because of the Russian- Polish war and moved to Paris which was one of the centers of artistic development at the time. It was here he met the older writer, George Sand, and they were soon a couple. In 1837 Chopin wrote the music Nocturne in C minor. During Chopin’s entire time in Paris he was sickly from tuberculosis and from 1842 until his death in 1849 and the age of 39 his musical output was very limited.
As I have written before, Chopin was buried in Paris but his heart was cut out and smuggled to Warsaw by his sister in a bottle of cognac escaping attention from the Russian troops at the border. The bottle of cognac and heart can now be seen in the Holy Cross Church in Warsaw. Yes, we visited Chopin’s grave in Paris then hopped on a train the Warsaw to see his heart. What else would you expect from a pair of piano teachers.