♫ Chopin Nocturne Op. 15, No. 2

Today I’m sharing one of my favourite Chopin Nocturnes, the beautiful Op. 15 No. 2 in F# major. With an eventual goal to match the aesthetic period or style of each piece I record, I’ve dressed a bit thematically in black layers (I have nothing historically accurate…yet), inspired by the Charpentier portrait of George Sand, a 19th-century novelist with whom Chopin had a long affair.

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After hearing Australian pianist Piers Lane give a candle-lit recital of all the Nocturnes a couple of years ago, I was motivated to learn as many as possible. However, I really feel the absence of a more responsive piano. There is so much more potential in the sublime middle section, and some of the passages I didn’t do justice to… but if I wait until I’m 100% happy with a performance, I don’t think anything would ever get uploaded!

View at top of post, or click here to watch on YouTube.

Here are the outfit pictures we took outside:

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 Do you play or listen to Chopin?
What are your favourite of his works?

4 Comments

  1. Hi! A question, because I’m curious.
    Why do you end all your videos just staring at the piano, with your back to the camera? Is it a kind of custom, something like that? I dunno, it looks strange to me, like I’d expect the performer to turn their head to the “audience”, you know what I mean?
    But I’m not familiar with performer videos, so maybe lots of people do it like that and I never noticed?

    Anyway, cheers 🙂

    • Amy
      Amy Reply

      Thanks.
      It is entirely my own choice, but considering an upright piano only has one side worth seeing, I prefer the instrument to be visible rather than just my hands. Second, the room is quite narrow and there isn’t much space for the camera angle to be different – multiple angles or zooming/panning footage are the domain of concert pianists, which I am not. And third, I am not comfortable with facing the camera, preferring to stay modest, and at this point prefer my videos to be a picture of the overall aesthetic and tone, which I am a part of but not the focal point. Performing custom is to lay the hands in the lap, unless a climactic part of a concert programme has been reached and the performer needs to get up to bow.

      Of all the videos of solo private piano recordings I have watched over the years, I haven’t seen a trend of pianists turning around or getting up – most of them feature only the hands, but if I only zoomed into them I’d probably just get a lot of hand-shape criticism (they are small and I have never been able to curve them as much as nitpickers would say is “proper”).

  2. Oh! I love Chopin <3 I liked your performance 🙂 Especially the floaty section around 1:45 onwards.

    I used to make terrible attempts at playing some of his works, but having never been formally taught to play piano, I was probably butchering them terribly (I could not afford lessons in piano as well as 'cello as a child, so tried to teach myself piano). At one point I went for a one trial lesson, and the teacher told me that I had learned so many bad-habits teaching myself that she would never be able to cure me of, so it was pointless. I currently don't even have a piano in my house, because it is currently gathering dust 600 miles from me in my father's cottage and I cannot afford to get it moved up to my new house.

    Your outfit is gorgeous <3 I love this sort of layered, ethereal look, and I think you did George Sand justice… If you ever want to dress as her again, she was known for dressing in men's clothing, and I think it would be interesting if someone dressed as that version of her.

    • Amy
      Amy Reply

      Thank you! That wave-like section is just wonderful, probably the reason I wanted to learn that Nocturne.

      There’s nothing wrong with exploring pieces or your favourite composers without formal lessons. 🙂 And what a ridiculous teacher!!! I mean, some habits might be hard to correct but that’s really no reason to deny someone a musical education. 🙁 I hope you can be reunited with your piano soon, or perhaps another one – I owned a few dilapidated old ones when we couldn’t afford anything decent. I don’t think it’s ever too late to make up for a bit of lost time if there are things we wish we’d had the opportunity or money to learn. I teach “bucket list” adults who get so much joy from being able to explore their musical dreams and add to the ways they can express themselves. 😀

      And thanks – though it’s sadly so heavy to wear that sort of thing all the time! 🙁 I chose the “feminine side” of her mostly because I think my appearance lends itself better to that, but it would be awesome if someone with a better resemblance to Sand were able to do a photo shoot or something!

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