Sunday, January 21, 2018 Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.

Frederic Chopin

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If the mighty autocrat of the north knew what a dangerous enemy threatened him in Chopin's works in the simple tunes of his mazurkas, he would forbid this music. Chopin's works are canons buried in flowers.
--
Robert Schumann, 1831

 
Frederic Chopin

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I shall never forget the first time I saw her come on to an empty platform to dance. … She came through some little curtains which were not much taller than herself — she came through and walked down to where a musician, his back to us, was seated at a large piano — he had just finished playing a short prelude by Chopin when in she came, and in some five or six steps was standing at the piano, quite still — you might have counted five or eight, and then there sounded the voice of Chopin in a second prelude or etude — it was played through gently and came to an end — she had not moved at all. Then one step back or sideways, and the music began again as she went moving on before, or after it. Only just moving — not pirouetting or doing any of the things which a Taglioni or a Fanny Elssler would have certainly done. She was speaking her own language, not echoing any ballet master, and so she came to move as no one had ever seen anyone move before.
The dance ended, she again stood quite still. No bowing, no smiling — nothing at all. Then again the music is off, and she runs from it — it runs after her — for she has gone ahead of it.
How is it that we know she is speaking her own language? We know it, for we see her head, her hands, gently active, as are her feet, her whole person. And if she is speaking, what is it she is saying? No one would ever be able to report truly, yet no one present had a moment's doubt. Only this can we say — that she was telling to the air the very things we long to hear; and now we heard them, and this sent us all into an unusual state of joy, and I sat still and speechless.

 
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But there was escape, too, even in those days, for there was Whistler living in the grey mists with a faded orange moon. The nocturne transformed itself into dreamy rooms with Chopin’s music creating a mood that softened the hard core of self.

 
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