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Published on Sep 27, 2010
One of Chopin's most priceless performance remarks is at the beginning of this Nocturne -- "sotto voce". Just like that : not a girlish "piano" , not an ambivalent "mezzo forte" , not even meaty forte ( the last thing you want here is an "opera" voice for this melody ).It effectively bars all over-the-top cheap and showy "expressive emotions" -- no eye rolling allowed , no hair flailing, no hands flying , no sobs , no visible tears.... A musical equivalent of the famed British " keeping a stiff upper lip "- this "sotto voce" gives us the right sense of what this piece is about .Just as Chopin's 2nd sonata this nocturne deals directly and openly with such tragic subjects as death, loss and grief ... except , here you are allowed to leave personal comments. 2nd sonata is a depiction of all those things , this Nocturne is a commentary- or an epitaph.....the fifth movement that would come after the Finale ...If you ever visit La Madeleine in Paris ( Chopin's parish church where his funeral was held on October 30th ) think about this Nocturne , OK?
PS. Talking about parallels between Rachmaninoff and Chopin works , don't you think that "doppio movimento" part ( last pages ) sounds ominously like Rachmaninoff Etude-Tableau E flat Minor Op39?