Chopin Chamber Music - Time Travel - A reminder of a superlative Chopin Birthday Concert, Warsaw, 1 March 2021
As the Arthur Rubinstein Competition is now in progress in Tel Aviv, I feel it is a fine opportunity to listen to how winners of this prestigious competition develop in their careers. In 2017 the pianist on this recording, Szymon Nehring, won First Prize in the competition, the first Polish pianist to do so. I predict that the uncommon young Polish pianist Aleksandra Swigut, who is taking part as I write and whose talent I have championed for many years, will hopefully distinguish herself in a similar manner!
On Chopin's birthday this year I felt grateful to the National Fyderyk Chopin Institute to be able to attend live concerts once again. I also respect greatly the courage shown by these young musicians to perform in public, even in such a large hall as the Filharmonia. Such a bizarre experience to sit masked in the Filharmonia Hall, distant from others without the slightest concession to social interaction or interval discussion over coffee or a glass of claret. But there was music present at last !
This recording of the Chopin chamber music contains the same works performed at the live concert I attended on Chopin's Birthday 1 March 2021, with the splendid addition of the Grand Duo Concertant in E major on themes from Meyerbeer's Robert le diable for piano and cello (1832-1833)
It is well not to forget outstanding performances in the plethora of online concerts we are privileged to hear worldwide during this cruel pandemic. The recorded sound quality of the Chopin Institute CDs is always superior.Photo Wojciech Grzędziński
Introduction and Polonaise brillante in C major for piano and cello Op. 3 (1829)
Chopin sketched by Princess Eliza Radziwill at Antonin en route to Duszniki Zdroj 1826.
They then might listen to excerpts from the surprisingly complex music that his host, Prince Antoni Radziwiłł, had composed to Faust In the evening Chopin showed off his skills as a pianist and duetted with the cellist prince. But above all, he composed. He was working on the Trio in G minor Op.8, which would be dedicated to Antoni Radziwiłł, and also the Introduction and Polonaise brillante in C major, Op. 3. Chopin knew and loved the cello repertoire, especially the superb playing of the renowned cellist Jozef Merk in Warsaw.
And more to Tytus: ‘While I was staying with him, I wrote there an with a cello part. Nothing but baubles to dazzle, for the salon, for the ladies. I wished you see, that Princess Wanda learn to play it. I was supposed to have been giving her lessons during that time. A young thing, 17 years old, pretty, and, by my word, it was nice to help her place her little fingers on the keys. But all joking aside, she has a lot of genuine musical feeling, such that you don't have to tell her to make a crescendo here, a piano there, and 'faster here, and slower there', and so forth.' (At the time she was actually 21 and Chopin was only 19 himself!)
Sonata in G minor for piano and cello Op. 65 (1846)
|French print of a giraffe from 1849|
More to our point, he speaks of the difficulties of writing the cello sonata as the letter closes:
She dwells with Beauty—Beauty that must die;
And Joy, whose hand is ever at his lips
Bidding adieu; and aching Pleasure nigh,
Turning to poison while the bee-mouth sips:
Ay, in the very temple of Delight
Veil'd Melancholy has her sovran shrine,
Though seen of none save him whose strenuous tongue
Can burst Joy's grape against his palate fine;
His soul shalt taste the sadness of her might,
And be among her cloudy trophies hung.
Trio in G minor Op. 8 (1829)