The renovation of Chopin’s last Pleyel - Piano Factory No.14810 - by the charismatic conservator Paul McNulty. Warsaw, Poland 3-12 December 2021
|The last Pleyel 14810 piano played by Fryderyk Chopin in the Fryderyk Chopin Museum Warsaw before restoration|
Chopin at a Pleyel piano. Pencil drawing by Jacob Götzenberger Paris October 1838, just after Chopin's first visit to England in 1837
Finally a brief fragment of the anguished Doppio movimento from the B-flat minor Sonata revealed a bass register on the Pleyel that was emotionally disturbing with a unique mixture of fierce emotion in the overtones which created an authentic feeling of that complex Polish emotion called żal, untranslatable into English. This is so rarely experienced in terms of the roughened texture of fury and the agitated timbre of anger mixed with resentment stemming from frustrated nostalgia for past joys and emotive complexity impossible to adequately express on an homogenized, 'perfect', modern instrument.
On the Pleyel it is possible to implement Chopin's comment to Wilhelm von Lenz. 'I only indicate. It is up to the listener to complete the picture.' Understatement and sensitive restraint is hardly what we are hearing in modern times in too many cases.
An absolutely magical experience to hear this voice of silence speak once again, an emotion that brought me close to tears.