Night Music

February 22, 2010 at 10:27 pm (music, Rosie B)

It’s the 200th anniversary of Chopin’s birth.  I learned enough classical piano when I was young, so as to be able to stumble through Nocturne Op 9 No. 1.  The left hand plays a regular run of twelve notes following the same pattern while the right ripples away and will occasionally play odd numbers of notes eg 11 in the right hand to 6 in the left, or 7 to 6.  So the left hand fixes the rhythm, like the bass in a band, while the right has an improvised feeling.  The piece is full of yearning.

Learning to play an instrument badly does increase your appreciation for those who can play it well.


  1. Jim Denham said,

    Great artists don’t have yo be pleasant people, of course: but Chopin seems to have been a grade-A asshole: vain, selfish, cold and unpleasant to his “lover” George Sand, politically conservative and anti semitic:–a-very-tainted-genius-1833696.html

    …other than that, a very talented composer, if you like depressing (in a good way) piano pieces; Rubinstein played good Chopin:

  2. les said,

    give me erik satie any day.

    and he wrote some nocturnes too:

    not quite as well known as chopin, but i find they have a quality of reverie to them that chopin’s, for all their touches of brilliance, never quite have.

  3. Red Maria said,

    Jim, I think Adam Mickiewicz would be more to your tastes.

    Litwo, ojczyzno moja!
    ty jesteś jak zdrowie;
    Ile cię trzeba cenić, ten tylko się dowie,
    Kto cię stracił. Dziś piękność twą w całej ozdobie
    Widzę i opisuję, bo tęsknię po tobie.
    Panno święta, co Jasnej bronisz Częstochowy
    I w Ostrej świecisz Bramie! Ty, co gród zamkowy
    Nowogródzki ochraniasz z jego wiernym ludem!

  4. Jim Denham said,

    Good grief, Maria! I’ve been identified with many people in my time (Eddie Condon, WC Fields, Melanie Phillips [“in drag”], Herbert Lom [the *young* Herbert Lom, I should stress], Cary Grant [OK: I made up the Cary Grant bit])…but Mickiewicz is a new one on me:
    Why you should think I’d identify with Lithuanian nationalism, I don’t know. But he sounds to have been an interesting guy. Thanks for drawing my attention to him.

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