Thursday, May 31, 2012

Classical Thursdays: Chopin's Tristesse

I was intending for my Classical Thursdays to be a weekly thing. Goodness knows there's enough great music for that. But somehow last Thursday slipped past me, so I guess it will be a catch-as-catch-can arrangement.

Today I want to highlight a piano piece by Frédéric Chopin, who I would say is in my top three favorite composers. His Étude Op. 10 No. 3, in E major, nicknamed Tristesse (sadness), is slow and lovely, and the asymmetrical structure of the melody was pretty advanced for its time. Chopin is said to have thought this was his most beautiful composition. When I listen to it, I think it sounds like regret.

Here's a great quote about Chopin's creative process, written by his companion of ten years, George Sand:
Chopin is at the piano, quite oblivious of the fact that anyone is listening. He embarks on a sort of casual improvisation, then stops. 'Go on, go on,' exclaims Delacroix, 'That's not the end!' 'It's not even a beginning. Nothing will come ... nothing but reflections, shadows, shapes that won't stay fixed. I'm trying to find the right colour, but I can't even get the form ...' 'You won't find the one without the other,' says Delacroix, 'and both will come together.' 'What if I find nothing but moonlight?' 'Then you will have found the reflection of a reflection.' source
I feel like that sometimes when I'm writing--I'm trying to find the right color, but I can't even get the form. I think what the artist Eugène Delacroix meant is that you've got to start somewhere, and eventually it will start to resemble what you see in your head. Art doesn't just happen--it's hard work.

In other news, I am a complete ninny and forgot to point out that last week, my CP Liz Briggs interviewed me on her blog! To read my embarrassing answers to her questions and see a mortifying high school photo of me, go here.

I was also interviewed a little while back by Deborah Blum, who I was in a critique group with the past couple of years. Check it out here!


  1. Oh my goodness- Can you imagine hanging out with Delacroix and Chopin while they talked about art. Swoon!

    1. Hard to think of THE Chopin as just a normal frustrated artist. Well, maybe not normal...