Monday, November 4, 2019

An Art Gallery, a Grand Piano and Chopin's Raindrop Prelude

It really is a grand piano. 
Yesterday afternoon I visited the Tweed Museum of Art on the campus of UMD. I'd been looking forward to seeing the new exhibit of Russian art that had been installed earlier this fall. Art museums are a great way to spend a slice of any day, but especially so when accompanied by live interpretations of Liszt and Chopin.

After one of the Tweed's recent opening receptions it was decided to leave the grand piano there for a spell. This past week one of the students has taken a shine to using it. Why not? The setting is perfect, both acoustically and aesthetically. (Thank you, Jessica)

Chopin's Prelude, Opus 28, No. 15 is one of 24 Chopin Preludes, very likely written while the composer and George Sand were staying at a monastery in Valldemossa, Majorca in 1838.

When I first took up piano at age 8 I had a wonderful piano teacher who introduced me to simplified versions of classic like the Moonlight Sonata (Beethoven) and this Chopin Prelude. I've been in love with Chopin ever since. She would likely be criticized by some for having allowed me to play as much as I did by ear. What I'm grateful for is how she helped me fall in love with the beauty of the music.

I'm similarly grateful for my father's interest in classical music. Sunday mornings he spent time reading the newspaper, which was sprawled around him on the floor as he sat in his easy chair listening to Beethoven's 5th, Echoes of Offenbach or Dvorak's New World Symphony.

George Sand purportedly once said that Chopin was proof that there is a God. In her memoir of her life she wrote specifically about Chopin's exquisite Preludes, which she called masterpieces.

Raised in Apple Valley, Jessica is a student in the economics program. 
He made a single instrument speak a language of infinity... He could often sum up, in ten lines that a child could play, poems of a boundless exaltation, dramas of unequalled power... His creation was spontaneous, miraculous. He found it without searching for it, without foreseeing it. It came to his piano suddenly, complete, sublime, or it sang in his head during a walk, and he would hasten to hear it again by tossing it off on his instrument. But then would begin the most heartbreaking labor I have ever witnessed.

In another place she wrote, "Art is not a study of positive reality, it is the seeking for ideal truth." This is certainly what many artists aspire to.

Let it take you away. 

Related Links
Impromptu (A film about George Sand and Chopin)

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