The Empire Strikes Back

November 15, 2016 at 1:56 pm

You know how in Star Wars, there’s this little tiny Rebellion fighting against a big nasty Empire? And you know how a dozen little space ships destroy that big scary death star? Well, it doesn’t always happen that way – sometimes, the Empire strikes back.

Back in 1830, Poland and the other Baltic states rebelled against Russia. Russia sent a big army over and crushed the rebellion, subjugated the people, and maintained its control over that region. And Chopin was maaaaaaaaaaddddd …

He poured his emotions into music – his Revolutionary Etude is a force to be reckoned with. This is a great piece for getting rage and fury off your chest – the only problem is, you have to be an amazing pianist to play it, even at a slow speed. Take that, Imperial scum!


Music to Die for

August 2, 2016 at 10:43 am

I was having a discussion this weekend with some friends about a choir that sings to people as they are dying. I suppose some people would find this morbid, but to me (and my musician friends) there is nothing more natural. It turned out that a number of us not only had our funeral music picked out, but we also had “last pieces” picked out for our final hours of consciousness.

A friend of mine, in her early 20’s, needed a very risky surgery; the doctors said she had a 15% chance of dying during the procedure. She asked if the “Agnus Dei” from Faure‘s Requiem could be playing as she was given anesthesia; if she died, she wanted her last thought to be of the music she loved. She survived the procedure, and a year later, I was honored to participate in the performance of the Faure Requiem that she conducted. Now, when I hear that piece, I can’t help but think about her bravery.

If I had to go through what she did, I’d choose Chopin‘s Nocturne in Db. Oddly, this piece doesn’t have any significant meaning to my life. I just think that the last 16 bars (4:48 to the end) would be the perfect soundtrack for a sweet death.


My Pologna has a first name …

July 22, 2016 at 10:30 am

It’s F-r-y-d-e-r-y-k …

Chopin‘s grand Polonaise in Ab is a favorite among pianists … at least those who can actually play it. A Polonaise is style of dance from Poland, Chopin’s homeland. I do admit though, every time I hear Liszt‘s Polonaise, I do get a bit Hungry*

* get it?