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Pianos and Pianists - Consultant Editor Ates Orga

Who to listen for - the UK round-up. October 29th - November 19th 1999



During October we've been commemorating the
150th anniversary of Chopin's death
Paris, Place Vendome 12, October 17th 1849, around 2am


This week:

the Centenary tribute


No one who loves music can be indifferent towards Chopin. Why? Because Chopin, like a true friend, speaks only the truth. His music contains unfeigned feelings, a dream of the future, and crystal-clear, fervid, exciting ideas. The great composer's musical language is classically simple and ideally expressive. His love for man rings out clearly both in his lyrical Preludes - now pensive, now impassioned - and in his humorous, fiery folk dances [Mazurkas, Polonaises]. The soul of Chopin's music - the melody - is never artificial, contrived or schematic; it is born of life and genuine emotions - this is what gives it its power …

… Chopin knew what he wanted to say in every phrase of music. This composer, whose music is so perfect that it seems to have been created in a single moment, in an unshackled burst of inspiration, in fact worked carefully; laboriously and persistently. His manuscripts testify to the inspiration of a genius, but also to the industry of a genius. In this sense, the sensitive and strict genius of Chopin was akin to the lavish; exacting genius of Pushkin. Chopin's powerful, free, lyrical music enters the open heart much in the way that Pushkin's poetry does.

- Shostakovich, Literaturnaya Gazeta, October 15th 1949



A pupil of Leonid Nikolayev at the Leningrad Conservatoire (1920-23), Shostakovich was among the 26 entrants who took part in the First International Chopin Competition in Warsaw won by Lev Oborin (28-30 January 1927) - gaining a Diploma of Merit for his effort. AO


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