Saturday, 6 August 2011


“Into each life some rain must fall.” - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

A full day again, although dull, cold, gray and wet. Did quite a few chores, but also managed to watch a movie in the afternoon and went out to dinner as well.

In keeping with the return of the Winter weather and the rain, here is Valentina Igoshina playing beautifully Frédéric Chopin’s ‘Raindrop’ Prelude in D Flat Major, Op. 28, No. 15.

This piece is replete with Chopin’s inner conflict and contemplation of his inner self. The composition was borne of the mind of Chopin in 1858 during his stay at the Valldemossa monastery. Amantine Dupin commented: “It casts the soul into a terrible dejection. Maurice and I had left [Chopin] in good health one morning to go shopping in Palma for things we needed at our ‘encampment’. The rain came in overflowing torrents. We made three leagues in six hours, only to return in the middle of a flood. We got back in absolute dark, shoeless, having been abandoned by our driver to cross unheard of perils. We hurried, knowing how our sick friend would worry. Indeed he had, but now was as though congealed in a kind of quiet desperation, and, weeping, he was playing his wonderful prelude. Seeing us come in, he got up with a cry, then said with a bewildered air and a strange tone, ‘Ah, I was sure that you were dead.’

When he recovered his spirits and saw the state we were in, he was ill, picturing the dangers we had been through, but he confessed to me that while waiting for us he had seen it all in a dream, and no longer distinguishing the dream from reality, he became calm and drowsy. While playing the piano, persuaded that he was dead himself, he saw himself drown in a lake. Heavy drops of icy water fell in a regular rhythm on his breast, and when I made him listen to the sound of the drops of water indeed falling in rhythm on the roof, he denied having heard it. He was even angry that I should interpret this in terms of imitative sounds. He protested with all his might—and he was right to—against the childishness of such aural imitations. His genius was filled with the mysterious sounds of nature, but transformed into sublime equivalents in musical thought, and not through slavish imitation of the actual external sounds. His composition of that night was surely filled with raindrops, resounding clearly on the tiles of the Charterhouse, but it had been transformed in his imagination and in his song into tears falling upon his heart from the sky.”

1 comment:

  1. I love this piece of music. It's interesting to read about the background of its creation. Very often the talented artist will be unaware of the actual stimulus and inspiration of a piece of art, whereas observers familiar with his/her situation will put two and two together. Thanks for the music and its background, Nicholas!