CHOPIN’S ETUDE “TRISTESSE”

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Marking the 183rd Anniversary of Polish Uprising of 1830

Just this afternoon, I was saying to Elizabeth, “I never know what’s going to happen when I sit down to play my new Clavinova.”

This morning, for example, I was stuck trying to remember a passage from Chopin’s Etude “Tristesse” (Sorrow).  Writers get a “writer’s block.” Actors freeze on stage.  Pianists can sometimes acquire a (temporary) musical amnesia.

This Chopin piece is something I have played a “million times” since the early 1960s (to use a hyperbole). But this morning I needed the sheet music to get through that passage. Once I cleared the cobwebs, however, new horizons and unexpected vistas opened up as I have never seen them (meaning heard them) before within this etude.  As the fog lifted, the original piano version morphed into magnificent new orchestral voices.  

I was stunned myself by its fresh beauty. Like seeing an old sweetheart for the first time in a new light. So I just had to (re)record it again.

That’s what I spent most of today, Nov 18, doing. Playing, recording, editing, filming, editing the film, and the posting the music videos.

Chopin may 68 if

Here’s now first the Introduction to the piece of music which Chopin himself termed as his best. Therein is also a historical perspective that explains its name “Tristesse” (Sorrow).  And how history ties Chopin with my own “revolutionary” life as a 23-year old in Belgrade.

It was only then that I realized why I was guided to play and record this piece today. This is the 183rd anniversary of the Polish uprising against the Russian empire which inspired this etude.

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This clip was actually filmed over five years ago when I first recorded this piece, also here at Eagle’s Nest in Scottsdale.  I just re-edited it into this 3-minute introduction:

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And now, here is the new recording of Chopin’s “Tristesse” (Sorrow):

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