Chopin and Chopsticks

[I’m sill catching up with lost time on my revived blog, but fortunately only a day behind in commemorating the birthday anniversary – February the 22nd – of my  favorite composer Frederic Francois Chopin.]

That child’s tune for piano in waltz-time, Chopsticks, started me off on the family Bechstein upright in the late 1930’s when I was a three-and-a-half year old kid.  From the two forefingers needed to punch out the catchy ditty I soon graduated to pieces requiring all ones fingers. Fortunately, as a result of assiduous exercises, I was soon able to play octaves with both hands. In my later years, I was happy to learn that an interesting set of variations on that two-finger tune was written collectively by four Russian composers in 1880 – Borodin, Cui, Liadov and Rimsky-Korsakov. By the way, for the second edition of these variations, Liszt – believe it or not! – contributed one of his own.

Chopin was the first to make the prelude famous in piano literature. He wrote 26 such pieces, 24 in Op. 28 (1836-39), one in Op. 45 (1841)), and another published posthumously. Over the years, I’ve enjoyed playing all of them with, of course, some favorites. Many are in a tormented mood, reflecting the composer’s state of mind on the island of Majorca, where they were written. Here is an audio of the heartfelt Lento piece in F sharp major:

Chopin wrote 169 works, of which only a handful are not for solo piano. He’s the only great composer not only to make piano music his creative world, but also to have concentrated mainly on smaller forms. He knew his limitations. Nevertheless, most of his compositions are masterworks, even if miniatures. And an outstanding trait of much of his music is its national Polish character.

Reference: Wikipedia, Encyclopedia of Concert Music by David Ewen; My Album.

Afterword:
My first public foray with Chopin works was on November the 3rd in 946, when at the age of 13 my debut piano recital took place in New Delhi at the Town Hall on Parliament Street that was the closest venue to a concert hall at that time.

Azim Lewis Mayadas at 13
(Click on the photo to enlarge it)

The rather hefty program of 14 works included 5 Chopin pieces (Prelude in C minor, Nocturne in C# minor, Valse Brillante, Valse in E minor, and Polonaise in A flat); a sonata each by Beethoven and Mozart, a Bach prelude and fugue, and 2 compositions by Azim.

Dear Readers,
You number over 68,000 in just over 2 years ago back in February 2015, when I first began to put “some of my thoughts, written down” and posted them in the blogosphere. Since that time, many of you have urged me to seek support of my site and my writings by way of donations.

 My blog is about my life. It’s about what I’ve learned through the span of my life. It’s about things I love, and things I know and things I have experienced. I am humbled that so many of you want to join with me in my reflections. If you like what you find here, if it inspires or informs or amuses you, then I am content.

It would mean a lot to me if, with the advent of the New Year 2017, you would please consider making a donation of US $2.00, $5.00, $10.00, or whatever amount you deem fit to sustain my work the next twelve months.
And thank you for being a regular reader of the Azim Mayadas Blog!

 

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