can’t see the forest

More Chopin

Posted in Arts & Entertainment, Chopin, Classical Music, Music, Music Videos, Piano by Curtis on 11/28/06

Here is Chopin’s Etude in E major, Op. 10, No. 3; my performance still needs a bit of work, particularly in the more technically challenging middle section, but I have a horrible phobia of being video-recorded so this might be the best performance the camera gets out of me. Sorry about the mistakes and about the unfortunate sound quality. Increasing your treble and decreasing your bass might help a bit on that second count.

Of this piece, a technical study in bringing out a melody over a busy accompaniment that tends to muddy it—as well as an exercise in broken diminished chords—Chopin is reported to have said: “Never again shall I find such a melody.” Five-measures-long phrases are adventurous even for a daring dandy such as Chopin, but the asymmetry is barely perceptible. This piece is often given the nickname “tristesse,” meaning ‘sadness,’ because it has the character of a melancholy remembrance of better times gone by, the longing escalating into an angry panic in the middle of the piece and then returning to something approaching satisfaction in the final phrases. We might never know of what Chopin was thinking when he wrote this little jewel, but the emotional progression is made quite tangible thanks to his pen.


4 Responses

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  1. Debi said, on 11/28/06 at 5:18 pm


    Incredible and breathtaking! If there were mistakes or the quality was bad, I didn’t notice – I heard only the beauty of the piece and the passion of the player.

    Thank you for this gift on a day when I remember my husband’s birthday… 8 years after his death. Tristesse, indeed.


  2. Curtis said, on 11/28/06 at 6:37 pm

    I’m awfully glad to hear you enjoyed it. Thanks for your kind words and I am always extremely pleased to step aside and let the voice of the composer travel through the centuries. Contrary to the belief of many, musicianship is about the removal of the performer’s ego, not about the imposition of it. And that, in the end, is the most challenging part of being a musician…and, as you’ve shown me, the most rewarding.

    My thoughts are with you today. Thanks again.

  3. zilla said, on 12/1/06 at 7:38 am

    Wonderful. It’s such a moving piece.

  4. Curtis said, on 12/1/06 at 12:49 pm

    Thank you…it’s getting better every day. Maybe I will repost in a couple of weeks. My technique has gotten out of shape over the past couple of years but for the present I have the opportunity to practice at least 3-4 hours a day, so, it’s on the up and up.

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