Sunday, March 14, 2010

Chopin in Paris & Edna Stern performs on a Pleyel piano

Last week in the Cité de la musique in Paris was opened the exhibition Chopin à Paris [it will run through June 6]. If you're in Paris or plan to come, I would wholeheartedly recommend you to visit the place (on the same go you may visit their very interesting Musée de la musique; it's in the same building).

It's a nicely organized exhibition with many Chopin's manuscripts, his correspondence with Eugène Delacroix and George Sand. There are plenty of drawings, many of which emphasize Chopin's  constant feeling of being in exile despite the fact that his father was French.  He grew up in Poland and most of his work was in one way or another dedicated to Poland.

Fred loved Norma by Bellini, and especially Act 3 of Robert le Diable by Meyerbeer. Since his work is intimately related to the Pleyel pianos, there is a section describing his contact with Pleyel (the son).  In one section of the exhibiting hall there is a large Pleyel piano and there was a man playing various pieces by Chopin, who'd explain the details concerning the variety of structures in Chopin's music, relating them to various periods of his life.  

Pleyel piano from 1842, in the Amphitheater of the Cité de la musique in Paris.

To celebrate 200 years since the birth of Frédéric Chopin, Cité de la musique also organized a 6 days "marathon" of concerts covering the entire opus of music by Chopin.
Since the Cité is hard to reach for me --because it is on the opposite end geographically and I need to change 3 metros to get there, and by car is even more complicated--  I only managed to catch a concert by Edna Stern, a superb young pianist and a beautiful girl too.

A peculiarity of these concerts is that they are performed in a 300-400 seats Amphitheater and on a Pleyel piano from 1842, i.e. the same kind of piano as the ones Chopin used when composing his works, and in his legendary performances. In a weird sense it brings you closer to Chopin when you know  that this was the sound he had in his head and his heart... 

The sound is definitely different from what you get on Steinway or even on Petrof.  It's less plain, but more intimate -- making the idea to organize the concert in Amphitheater even more excellent. All the staircases in the full Amphitheater were packed with people...

 EDNA STERN, Saturday, March 13, 2010   
Nocturne n°1 op.37
    Nocturne n°2 op.37
    Impromptu n°2 op. 36
    Trois Nouvelles Etudes
    Valses op.42 et op.70 n°2
    Polonaise op. 44
    Mazurka KK II b/4
    Sostenuto (Valse) KK IV b/10
    Tarentelle op. 43
    Prélude op. 45
    Ballade n°3 op. 47
 Edna Stern 

CD - Chopin on the same Pleyel piano by Edna Stern, released by Naive.

Do visit the website of Naive and listen to Edna performing Waltz #7 on Pleyel, to get a feeling of the difference wrt what you get when the same Waltz is performed on Steinway -- the sound we're all used to. 

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