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#979184 - 04/25/07 06:08 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
loveschopintoomuch Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/05/06
Posts: 4690
Loc: Illinois
Sotto Voce: You obviously listened to quite a few renditions on the site Sarah posted. I hope to this evening. Naturally, you are correct when you say that the variations of interpretations sometimes leaves one or sometimes and sometimes and on and on. I think this is a good thing because then we, as non-professionals, can play our very own interpretations without any qualms. As if we could have any anyhow! ;\)

Thank you, Gerg...Chopin seems to be happy in my living room (should I say music room??) because he hasn't gone anywhere...yet!

Need a favor from you all. I will be out of town until next Wednesday, so I will be counting on you to make certain this thread STAYS ON PAGE ONE. That is so important. We can't let Chopin slip away.

I hope you are making steady progress on your preludes. For those you haven't started...yikes! Just a word of caution. Don't let too much time go by because October will be here before you know it, really!!

Regards to all...till next Wednesday.

Kathleen
_________________________
After playing Chopin, I feel as if I had been weeping over sins that I had never committed, and mourning over tragedies that were not my own." Oscar Wilde, 1891

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#979185 - 04/25/07 06:25 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
gerg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/02/07
Posts: 1651
Loc: Houston, TX
 Quote:
Originally posted by loveschopintoomuch:

Need a favor from you all. I will be out of town until next Wednesday, so I will be counting on you to make certain this thread STAYS ON PAGE ONE. That is so important. We can't let Chopin slip away.
[/b]

You may have noticed I've been away for quite awhile. Here's why; meet Geneviève! \:D




 Quote:
Originally posted by loveschopintoomuch:


I hope you are making steady progress on your preludes. For those you haven't started...yikes! Just a word of caution. Don't let too much time go by because October will be here before you know it, really!!

[/b]
Yes, #8 is proving to be a challenge, but not an insurmountable one. Progress is slow, but steady with tangible improvement over time.
_________________________
http://www.ecital.net
Wikicital: A collaborative effort to build a knowledgebase of classical music history combined with examples. Your chance to both perform and write...

Don't click here!

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#979186 - 04/25/07 06:37 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
Ted2 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/04/02
Posts: 790
Loc: Auckland, New Zealand
I had not, until today, entered this thread because I am not “totally devoted to Chopin”. I play few of his pieces, just a handful of the studies, the Ab Polonaise and Fantasie Impromptu. However, his music does hold an invariant beauty for me, being at once universal and intimate, a beauty I have perceived since childhood. The question about “moments” interests me because, in my view, the power of Chopin lies precisely in his ability to create these transporting “moments”. His music does not interest us through its architecture, form, clever counterpoint or intellectual concept. Indeed, it often doesn’t have any form in the jelly-mould, architectural sense of the word.

Why then, is Chopin a creator of so many transporting “moments” for so many listeners ? Why is his music “moment oriented” in a way that, say, Bach’s forty-eight or a Beethoven sonata is not ? One obvious property is that his keyboard figurations are nearly always heterogeneous and rarely homogeneous. Take a simple example – scales. There is one in the G minor Ballade, a repeated one in the Ab Polonaise, one at the end of Winter Wind and that’s about it. A straight scale was done to death and doesn’t lead to unintentional inner voices during improvisation. Practically all Chopin’s figures are non-standard, do not “fit” in terms of metre, harmony or keyboard geography and , above all, they do not repeat. The macrocosmic impression may be one of similarity but within the order there is always variety and exception. The tree is of one species but each leaf is different.

I therefore suggest that a large measure of his transporting power arises from two things (there are more but two will do for a start). He had an inexhaustible source of wonderful romantic melody, and more flexible harmony than those before him, that much is obvious. But he was possibly the first creator to start using it within what is now known as organic form – the end result of the feedback loop between sound and intention during improvisation - and we know he improvised a lot.

For what it is worth, that is my conjecture. A bit off the wall perhaps.
_________________________
"Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law" - Aleister Crowley

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#979187 - 04/25/07 07:01 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
gerg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/02/07
Posts: 1651
Loc: Houston, TX
His music paints a picture, using as its medium the human soul and its range of experience - similar to the later Debussy's use of the natural world. Your observations about architecture, counterpoint, etc. are astute as some have criticized him for essentially plagiarizing such from Bach and Beethoven, while missing the "moment" motif that was Chopin's forté.

Scales: you missed Op. 28 #24 Prelude, but your point is very well taken. It can be extend to Alberti bass - Chopin's bass lines are nearly always more flowing and exquisite. Did he ever use the Alberti bass?

A scintillating and thought-provoking analysis you've shared, BTW.
_________________________
http://www.ecital.net
Wikicital: A collaborative effort to build a knowledgebase of classical music history combined with examples. Your chance to both perform and write...

Don't click here!

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#979188 - 04/25/07 07:07 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
Bassio Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/24/03
Posts: 2480
Loc: Alexandria, Egypt
 Quote:
Originally posted by La Sylphide:
Good morning everybody,
Thank you all for sharing your favourite Chopin's moments....I'll try to post my list soon

Kathleen: the pic.is magnificent, and he sure likes his new home, pedestal and all.

remember when I asked about Chopin's flute variations?(my very first post on this thread),
well, I checked it out and here it is:

Variations E major, on a theme from Rossini's 'La Cenerentola', for pianoforte & flute, 1824

it's on this site:

http://nt1k23.com/musicalse/

Enjoy!! [/b]
Excellent find

I did not know that there are 20 waltzes .. maybe 14

Gerg: Congrats lovely daughter \:\) Will you get her into piano?

Kathleen don't worry the thread is in good hands \:D

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#979189 - 04/25/07 07:09 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
Bassio Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/24/03
Posts: 2480
Loc: Alexandria, Egypt
Welcome Ted2 to the thread.

Wonderful acceptance speech \:\)

;\)

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#979190 - 04/25/07 07:28 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
loveschopintoomuch Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/05/06
Posts: 4690
Loc: Illinois
Wow....Gerg, what a beautiful baby!! \:\) \:\) Congratulations to you and your wife. Now the sleepless nights begin. Perhaps a little Chopin will lull the wee one to sleep. It's worth a try and a good way to try to get some practice in. ;\)

Good comments to Ted2's.

Welcome Ted2: Your comments are extremely interesting and thought-provoking. I have always maintained, as most people, that Chopin's melody line is 3/4 of his beauty and the rest is pure genius. And you don't have to be "devoted" to Chopin. That title popped into my head at the last minute when I was trying to come up with a name. The very fact that you have such insight into his music certainly qualifies you as a member here. I would love to take your question/comments to a high power and will post this reply when I return.

Thanks Bassio.

Bye...again,

Kathleen
_________________________
After playing Chopin, I feel as if I had been weeping over sins that I had never committed, and mourning over tragedies that were not my own." Oscar Wilde, 1891

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#979191 - 04/26/07 06:44 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
La Sylphide Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/12/07
Posts: 51
Loc: Egypt
Gerg: Congratulations! What an adorable baby!

Thank you all for your comments, I'm glad you liked the site.

Sotto Voce: I totally agree with you, and it annoyed me too that no names of performers are given...but some pieces were fine anyway.

Now, I have to look for the Chopin's songs lyrics.

bye
_________________________
Sarah

"Time is still the best critic,and patience,the best teacher." Chopin

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#979192 - 04/26/07 07:10 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
Bassio Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/24/03
Posts: 2480
Loc: Alexandria, Egypt
A question to Chopin fans:

Do you like the cut made by Artur Rubinstein in the coda of the first movement of the second concerto

Go listen here (It is moment10)
http://www.box.net/shared/urpzqevbas

Concur or not concur ;\)

PS. Not only Rubinstein .. but also Alfred Cortot in his recording transformed part of this orchestral ending into a piano last entrance.

Interesting!! (and brave to alter the text of the composer - both of them)

Here is the cortot too http://www.box.net/shared/3pt3axpx9o

Opinions, Comments .. etc.

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#979193 - 04/26/07 09:22 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
La Sylphide Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/12/07
Posts: 51
Loc: Egypt
Bassio: I like the Cortot recording...rendering the coda to piano rather than a full tutti...of course.

I believe that the actual score should not limit the creative imagination of the performer who strives to attain the 'ideal' interpretation of the work, he has to "put [his] soul into it" to quote Chopin.
_________________________
Sarah

"Time is still the best critic,and patience,the best teacher." Chopin

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#979194 - 04/26/07 11:46 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
LisztAddict Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/12/05
Posts: 2895
Loc: Florida
Geneviève is a very nice name. French?

Congratulations, gerg!!! \:\) Now you need to play some nice, soft Chopin music for the baby. \:D

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#979195 - 04/28/07 04:38 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
Mary-Rose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/16/06
Posts: 1428
Loc: Essex, England
gerg, may I add my congratulations on your new arrival. I think she's a lucky little girl to have you as a father \:\)

I've heard that Mozart is good for babies. But I'm sure that Chopin is even better.
_________________________
Best wishes from MR
http://www.extraloudpurrs.blogspot.com

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#979196 - 04/29/07 06:19 AM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
Mary-Rose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/16/06
Posts: 1428
Loc: Essex, England
Calling all Chopaholics: if you get tired of just struggling along playing Chopin yourself, and want to hear a professional rendition, why not check out this worldwide list of recitals to see if there's anything within reach:

Chopin Recitals - list

Obviously the first sentence does not apply to LisztAddict \:D
_________________________
Best wishes from MR
http://www.extraloudpurrs.blogspot.com

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#979197 - 04/29/07 06:46 AM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
Hershey88 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/27/06
Posts: 149
Loc: France
fessing up...

Hey all - long time no write, but have been visiting...

First questions first: The website with the entire Chopin recorded collection. Indeed, I too was annoyed that there were no annotations as to who played what - well, still excited about the find, I passed it off to a few of my musician friends...and what I got in return was a rather sharp lecture about copyright infringement, and one of the artists recognized that it was one of their own recordings lifted off their own collection! Well, since it is such a resource, I don't want to admonish against using it, however, on behalf of the folks who work really hard I must say that we must be careful in using such contraband. So, there, I have said it. Be careful, and be aware...

I did enjoy the "moments" collections, but must admit my weakness for Hoffman - the facility there is beyond description. No one alive today can play like that - it is the old school, where it is never virtuosity for its sake alone, and yet the playing is so idiomatic, and so connected to the actual potential of the instrument, rather than trying to make the insturment bigger than it actually is... which reminds me of Hoffman's little piano book... where he says that the piano should never be pushed beyond its own limits. It is NOT an orchestra - it is a piano, and recognizing this, one must play the PIANO - and delve into all its beauties - and not try to create symphonies and wild symphonic effects. Interesting, as this was the clear difference between Chopin and Liszt.

As for me - I've been toying with the Polonaise Brilliante in public, and I enjoy it - it's a good "number..." it repeats a little much, but its great fun...

And as for work itself... well, the season has started with an unusual little performance at the Polish Embassy in Washington DC. It was a packed group - and I only had two places to give away - it was a first ask, first serve basis - and so, two lovely ladies from our little international group managed to trek their way to the land of cherry blossoms and strange politicians, and I came face to face (in the first row, no less...) with the musically inclined and the sexually curious (don't ask - .... it was a toughie to get around, but all the same I managed... all I'll say is that it had to do with "Tytus... \:\)

Maybe they'll tell you all about it... It was a little rough, I was playing Paderewski's piano, which is alternately very light and very heavy, uneven, and not really easily playable - (a lesson here - this requires immediate change of approach and extreme flexibility at all times, because the piano does not respond the way we are accustomed...and make an explosive sound when necessary causes miscalculations, and llightness is even more difficult because one then has blown out ones delicacy...)

At any rate - maybe the lovely ladies will tell you about it...

Next, it is likely that I will write from Seoul, Korea - where M. Chopin begins life in a few weeks - and first performance at the Geffen Theatre of M. Chopin in LA is August 9th (I think tix go on sale for that soon enough...) If you will be my way - please let me know...

And again, thanks to the lovely ladies of the first row... and all else who provide such entertaining and enlightening information herein...

\:\) Hersh

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#979198 - 04/29/07 10:31 AM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
loveschopintoomuch Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/05/06
Posts: 4690
Loc: Illinois
Dear Hersh:

As Shakespeare once said "..."beauty is in the eye of the beholder." And I would suppose that the word "lovely" would also fall into that category... So we are responding, not as the "lovely ladies in the front row," but as the "gushing" ones.

You were truly amazing. After your magnificient performance on that truly wonderfully sounding, but almost impossible to play, piano...you have to be exhausted.

The evening was all we had hoped for and then ten times that. So glad you included Chopin's two concerti; the effect was so moving ("tears in my eyes and ruining my mascara" time).

Devoted members: Will write more about our " once-in-a-lifetime" experience when I get home. The computer at the hotel charges by the second, so I am to be brief.

Once again, Hersh, you are in a class all by yourself.

With great affection, admiration, and, of course, appreciation.


frycek and loveschopintoomuch.


Bassio: Yes, we DID attend Hersh's peformance of M. Chopin at the Polish Embassy in D.C. last Saturday. Can you believe it???

Again, will write more when I get home.

Regards to all,
Kathleen
_________________________
After playing Chopin, I feel as if I had been weeping over sins that I had never committed, and mourning over tragedies that were not my own." Oscar Wilde, 1891

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#979199 - 04/29/07 10:43 AM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
LisztAddict Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/12/05
Posts: 2895
Loc: Florida
 Quote:
Originally posted by Hershey88:
... well, the season has started with an unusual little performance at the Polish Embassy in Washington DC. I[/b]
Did they ask you to play any music of Karol Szymanowski?

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#979200 - 04/29/07 08:21 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
Piano Again Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/12/04
Posts: 1162
Loc: Washington metro
Gosh, Kathleen, are you still in DC? You should have called me.
_________________________
Recovering cellist, amateur pianist.


Check out my blog !


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#979201 - 04/30/07 08:06 AM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
loveschopintoomuch Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/05/06
Posts: 4690
Loc: Illinois
Sorry PA, it never even dawned on us. We're leaving today. Darn Darn. Kathleen
_________________________
After playing Chopin, I feel as if I had been weeping over sins that I had never committed, and mourning over tragedies that were not my own." Oscar Wilde, 1891

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#979202 - 04/30/07 08:13 AM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
Bassio Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/24/03
Posts: 2480
Loc: Alexandria, Egypt
Hi Hersh long time no post \:D

I must say that I am with you totally concerning Hofmann (especially when it comes to his recording of the concerti). You are absolutely right .. no one can play like that anymore. You even said just what my teacher had said "It is the old school".

As for his facility \:D no need to comment

Kathleen: I don't get it. Did you attend a Hersh concert or what? Elaborate.

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#979203 - 04/30/07 11:28 AM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
Mary-Rose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/16/06
Posts: 1428
Loc: Essex, England
Bassio, I think the clue to your bemusement is in Hershey's post - in particular:

"...the season has started with an unusual little performance at the Polish Embassy in Washington DC. It was a packed group - and I only had two places to give away - it was a first ask, first serve basis - and so, two lovely ladies from our little international group managed to trek their way to the land of cherry blossoms and strange politicians, and I came face to face (in the first row, no less...) with the musically inclined and the sexually curious"

In other words, Kathleen has been molesting Hershey. Or at least, that's my interpretation \:D
_________________________
Best wishes from MR
http://www.extraloudpurrs.blogspot.com

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#979204 - 04/30/07 03:00 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
Hershey88 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/27/06
Posts: 149
Loc: France
Oh my. What have I started?????

To continue the amusement, I will let the "lovely ladies" tell it. It has to do with what Frycek wanted to know - and what I (or the character of Chopin, as it were...) had to answer...

\:\) I am SOOO looking forward to how the ladies are gonna tell this story!


\:\) \:\) \:\)

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#979205 - 04/30/07 03:54 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
loveschopintoomuch Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/05/06
Posts: 4690
Loc: Illinois
Hersh: You got here before me! \:\(

Frycek just got up to the room and told me what MaryRose had posted (MR...good thing you live in England; otherwise, I would have to STRANGLE you, like within the next day or so. \:D I'll have you know I once taught at a Catholic school. What if one of the nuns happens to read your post? Yikes! Really not possible because they would have to be about 150 years old by now).

So your so-called "interpretation" is really so far off base, it's on another planet!! ;\)

I won't go into details now, but Hershey, you are a dear (unlike some others I could mention :rolleyes: ) to put up with our silliness. We do get a little punchy once in a while. Some, more than others.... :p

I have every intention of setting the record straight with the complete and unvarnished truth of what happened that wonderful night. But for now, suffice to say that I was a PERFECT angel. So that leaves only one other "lovely lady" left, who (ahem) lost her senses, monentarily (could have been the wine that was served. MR: I didn't ply her, as you once suggested I do; she plied herself!!)

Now, see...don't I have you all on the edge of your collective "seats?" Tune in on Tuesday for yet another chapter in this "blue note" saga of my version of some "enchanted evening."

MR: I am still plotting something very evil for you. Better watch out!!

Kathleen
_________________________
After playing Chopin, I feel as if I had been weeping over sins that I had never committed, and mourning over tragedies that were not my own." Oscar Wilde, 1891

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#979206 - 05/02/07 12:36 AM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
LisztAddict Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/12/05
Posts: 2895
Loc: Florida
 Quote:
Originally posted by maryrose:
Obviously the first sentence does not apply to LisztAddict \:D [/b]
You've got that right, I am a Lisztaholic, not a Chopaholic. \:D

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#979207 - 05/02/07 10:21 AM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
loveschopintoomuch Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/05/06
Posts: 4690
Loc: Illinois
Dear Devotees:

As promised, this is my review of my evening with M. Chopin (MaryRose: Just watch it!!).

As some of you may have discerned by now, Frycek and I were unbelievably fortunate in receiving an official invitation from the Polish Embassy in Washington D.C. to attend a performance of M. Chopin, starring (our very own) Hershey Felder, this last Saturday. I believe this event was in commemoration of Polish Constitution Day, and what better way to celebrate it! To say that we were thrilled would be a gross understatement. We were as excited as two school girls as we planned our trip: flights, hotel arrangements…and of course, the most important thing…what to wear!

The weather was perfect that night, and the cab dropped us off right in front of the Embassy. It was truly a magnificent sight. A huge gray building, with a large stone courtyard. Right inside the courtyard to the left was a giant statue of Paderewski, crazy hair and all. Immediately inside the doorway was a large formal room, relatively empty except for a portrait of Paderewski on one of the walls. Immediately ahead, a wide staircase, which lead us to yet another huge room. Many people dressed in their finery had already arrived and were helping themselves to glasses of wine and generally milling around. (BTW: Chopin was quite accurate in his assessment of the beauty of Polish women. There were several there who were just “drop-dead” gorgeous.) In just a short time, walls were slid away and another large room “appeared.” Chopin’s salon!! Just as one would imagine it to look (with the exception of about 200 folding chairs on three sides of the room.) There was a small raised stage in the front and on it a very large grand piano. Also, some elegant period furniture…a chair and two small tables, all looking as if they came straight from Chopin’s room.

As people found seats, Frycek and I quickly got front row chairs to the right of the piano and just a few feet from the stage. The cultural administrator, a man, (who, BTW, was also drop-dead gorgeous) came out to introduce some of the people in the audience. Holy Cow…we were surrounded by tens of VIP’s and some extremely high dignitaries. (I whispered to Frycek that she had better behave herself and wondered to myself how we ever got included in such an auspicious group of people.)

And then, Hershey was introduced and came on stage. Oh my gosh…he was Chopin, personified. He was in costume, wearing a long coat and a suit that was the fashion of his day. And naturally the gloves…that were his trademark.

For those who don’t know of or haven’t yet purchased the CD of M. Chopin, I can’t possibly recommend it more highly. It is exquisite, and I promise you something you will treasure always.

Hershey basically performed his “act” of M. Chopin with several wonderful new changes in the music he played. My favorite new additions were the “romance” sections of the two concerti. The orchestral part was recorded and it played in the background while he performed the “piano” part in the foreground. I don’t know which of the two I love the more, and I am not ashamed to say that my eyes quickly filled with tears.

M. Chopin is an reenactment of a piano lesson Chopin would be giving to one of his students. But the audience is the student. He talks to us, with the most charming Polish accent, telling us of his life…from his childhood, including the very moving story of his youngest sister’s death, his love for Maria and how her family was responsible for ending their relationship (they were afraid he would die too soon and would not be able to support her in the manner to which she was accustomed). He was heart-broken, but it would not be the last time his heart was broken. The invasion of his country by the Russians, his rage and anger, and the horror he experienced when he imagined what was happening to his family. He went on to tell of his arrival in Paris and his success there. His meeting with Liszt (so funny). And then, of course, his meeting G. Sand. And how amazed he was that “she loves me.” And, of course, how he felt at the end of their relationship.

Throughout his monologue, he plays the piano, his music…of course. And what music it was. That piano (more about it later) was the most magnificent-sounding one I have ever heard. We were able to see his face while he was playing, his emotion and love for the music was quite evident. (The moments of angst he displayed, I discovered later, were due to the piano.)

He begins by playing that wonderful polonaise that he composed when he was just eleven; he dedicated it to his first “teacher,” Monsieur Zywny, and presented it to him on his name-day. While he was playing, he explained the essence of the polonaise…where it originated, what it stood for, and what it meant to the Polish people.

I know I am going on much too long, but there is so much more to write about. He played so many beautiful pieces…prelude #2 and #20, the Grand Waltz Brillante, Op. 34, #1 (during this one he gave a running soliloquy of what might occur at a fancy gathering in those days…very comical and clever), and the Heroic Polonaise, absolutely perfect!! The Op. 9, #2 nocturne. And he played a mazurka (I can’t remember which one, so sorry), but again, he told of its importance and tradition. And the "minute” waltz, as the Americans have renamed it. And more ….all extraordinary. He made us laugh and he made us sad and (some of us) he made cry.

Ninety minutes or so went by quickly, and then it was over. Everyone stood and gave him a standing ovation, which he so richly deserved. As I mentioned before…it was “magical.” He took each and every one of us to another time, to another place, and gave us a glimpse into the life, the heart and the soul of a poet, a genius…who created the world’s most beautiful music. I doubt if anyone got through Hershey’s performance with a dry eye. (Good lord, I’m even crying now, as I am writing this. I guess I get too emotional. But I make no apologies for it. Hey, I’m Polish!! Oh, but certainly not one of those “drop-dead gorgeous” ladies!!)

Afterwards, (and this is where it got a little “sexually charged” [this is Hershey’s expression]), he, still as Chopin, prompted the audience to ask him questions and he promised he would answer them as honestly and knowledgably as he could. One lady asked him what he thought of Hugh Grant portraying him in the movie “Impromptu.” Another about his relationship with G. Sand and did he think she was unkind/unfair to him. He answered that they enjoyed many years of happiness together and she took good care of him. (Always the gentleman!)

O.K. Here is comes: A man then asked which of his compositions did he most love. Chopin asked the man if he had children. No, was the answer. Then he asked another man (who was standing in the doorway) if he had children. The man answered: “Maybe.” The audience roared in laughter as did Chopin (pretending to be a bit embarrassed by the response). After we all settled down, which took a while, another man answered that he loved all three of his children the same, and Chopin responded in kind. Next was Frycek’s question: “Did you love Titus?” To which Chopin responded: “You read too much.” But then he went on to say that since he had no brothers, Titus was like a brother to him and, yes, he did love him…but as a dear friend. And how people were always making too much of Chopin’s letters to Titus and how they read meanings into those letters that were not there. Chopin (Hersh) then said: “We were not about to run away to Vermont to get married.” Another howl from the audience. Frycek had to explain to me that Vermont allowed gay marriages. “Oh,” I said.

I asked a relatively “mild” question, in comparison. But I began it by addressing him and saying: “If you had lived longer (another howl from the audience [what was so funny??? I thought. I am talking to him as Chopin.])…“do you think you would have written more piano concertos (should have said concerti.)? “ Chopin (I’m paraphrasing) said that he thought not. That the piano was the perfect instrument. To this, everyone in the audience applauded very loudly in agreement.

Next, the ex-ambassador of Poland (gosh, I hope I’m correct here) presented Hershey with a “Friend of Poland” award. Again, another huge round of applause.

(This is when I remembered I had a camera in my purse [duh!!]). I managed to take two pictures, sideways, sort of.

There was buffet afterwards. Frycek told me it was Chinese food (??!!) I guess with all the Polish people present, they thought something different would be a good idea.

We waited around until Hershey could change and hoped we could manage to meet him (I was carrying a shopping bag the whole time and feeling really foolish). Would you believe Hershey’s wife, the ex-prime minister of Canada, helped me out and told me I could give it to one of his producers. She is a very lovely and gracious woman.

Hershey was mobbed for a long time when he did reappear, but Frycek and I were intent on meeting him. Well, Frycek was really intent…I was somewhat star-struck and held back a little. As bold as I might appear, I am really in awe of great intelligence and talent and get quite shy. (Hard to believe, I know.)

After I had rid myself of the shopping bag, I saw Frycek talking to Hersh and did get up my courage and walked over. He greeted me warmly with a handshake and kiss on the cheek (what a sweetheart). I told him how magnificently he played and he responded that the piano (which was Paderewski’s ) was terrible to play. He had only arrived that afternoon and didn’t have much time to practice on the piano and when he sat down to play, he was shocked. Although the piano (a Steinway) sounded WONDERFUL, it was a bear to play. Frycek coaxed me to try it, so I did. Wow….I actually was playing on Paderewski’s piano!! But yikes, it was really, really difficult to play, and I then understood Hersh’s dismay.

How he managed to achieve the exquisite sound of Chopin’s music from that instrument was a true test of his skill and passion.

We left very soon afterwards.

There wasn’t a single picture of Chopin in the Embassy (that I saw), but Frycek reminded me that the Embassy was basically a political building…hence, so much of Paderewski.

Please forgive any misspelled words or goofs in grammar. I got up at 3:30 this morning to write this because I was afraid I would forget some of the details, which I have anyhow.

To Hershey: Should you ever get tired or down or discouraged or even depressed, please, please remember how much joy you have given to so many, many people. I hope this knowledge will get you through those times. I am not exaggerating when I say that you play Chopin as I wish I could, as I believe he should be played. Thank you.

To all fellow Chopin-devotees.. Even though you were not there physically, you were there spiritually. Frycek and I were very aware that we represented all of you. Of this, I think we can be very proud.

Regards to all,
Kathleen
_________________________
After playing Chopin, I feel as if I had been weeping over sins that I had never committed, and mourning over tragedies that were not my own." Oscar Wilde, 1891

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#979208 - 05/02/07 12:21 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
LisztAddict Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/12/05
Posts: 2895
Loc: Florida
Thank you for the long detailed report. I wish I could be there. I'll be in DC later this July. I won't be at the Polish Embassy but will be at the Bulgarian Embassy.


 Quote:
Originally posted by loveschopintoomuch:
There was buffet afterwards. Frycek told me it was Chinese food (??!!) [/b]
Was it stuffed cabbage in tomato sauce?

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#979209 - 05/02/07 01:01 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
-Frycek Online   confused
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/06/05
Posts: 5921
Loc: SC Mountains
Actually, the buffet consisted of something stir fried with broccoli and chicken and rice, something which might possibly have been pierogi but bore a startling resemblance to Chinese pot sticker dumplings, and a cold salad involving macaroni. For desert there were little petit fours sized squares of applesauce cake (which might be Polish for all I know) and tiny slices of pound cake with a swirl of jelly. All this was tasty but not what I'd expected.

And what is happening at the Bulgarian Embassy?
_________________________
Slow down and do it right.

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#979210 - 05/02/07 03:00 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
Piano Again Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/12/04
Posts: 1162
Loc: Washington metro
If I'd known you both were in town, I could have taken you out for a GOOD meal.

Sounds like it was fun, though.

The performance that I saw in San Diego was similar musicwise, although the questions from the audience were not as interesting. \:D
_________________________
Recovering cellist, amateur pianist.


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#979211 - 05/02/07 03:36 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
loveschopintoomuch Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/05/06
Posts: 4690
Loc: Illinois
Hi Piano Again: I was going to PM you right after practice (I'm taking a short break). I haven't touched the piano in 6 days!!

We both were so spacey that we never thought of calling you (of course, we didn't have your number, but if we did, we would have, really.)

It would have been so nice to get together with another ABF member. And we certainly could have used a good meal...we mostly ate bagels, captured from the breakfast buffet at the hotel.

Yes, the questions were quite interesting, to say the least. I guess it's pretty easy to tell that we had a wonderful time. We also managed to get in some sight-seeing. D.C. is a beautiful city. I was last there when I was 15...a few years ago!!

Thanks for your kind offer. Who knows...maybe we will get the chance sometime in the future.

And...if you are ever in the Chicago area, please, please PM me and we'll do "lunch."

Kathleen
_________________________
After playing Chopin, I feel as if I had been weeping over sins that I had never committed, and mourning over tragedies that were not my own." Oscar Wilde, 1891

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#979212 - 05/02/07 03:58 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
Bassio Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/24/03
Posts: 2480
Loc: Alexandria, Egypt
Looks like you had a wonderful evening. \:\)

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#979213 - 05/02/07 10:46 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
stephenc Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/06
Posts: 693
Loc: Australia
Thanks for your splendid written recollection Kathleen! What a magical night it must have been for you and Frycek - is their a particular CD of his that you recommend or just one?
(BTW I hope Hershey has plans for world tours which include Australia! - events such as these are just too few and far between here, if they occur at all).

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