Sunday, 1 March 2009

A musical birthday

It is (arguably) Frédéric (or Fryderyk) Chopin's birthday today. He and his family claimed that he was born on 1 March 1810. A baptismal certificate begs to differ, however.

But I choose to believe that the man who composed some of the most exquisite and innovative piano music ever (and by all accounts he 'composed' by improvising and only wrote down the notes on paper with some difficulty afterwards) was born 199 years ago today.

Not least because it gives me an excuse to post this clip of his Nocturne in E flat, Op. 9, No. 2, played by none other than Sergei Rachmaninov.

As a terminally lapsed pianist myself, it astonishes me to recall that, way back in the last century, I could actually play this myself (very badly, but . . . even so . . . ). I could no more tackle it now than I could climb Ben Nevis in stilettos. So much for the accomplishments of youth.

Anyway, Happy Birthday to Chopin, and to everyone who shares his anniversary.

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