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Chopin Fantasy Impromptu, Op. 66

February 17, 2011

So. Yundi Li!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love this version by Yundi Li. Definitely one of the most talented pianists in the world! And plus, he’s young 😉 *wink wink*.

Once again, Mister Delicacy is back. His delicacy is ever present. The taste of delicacy is the same, but this particular piece has a very different emotions from the previous one.

For one thing, do you see the passion at the beginning? And the dynamics of it? And yet, it is not quite that strong. The melodies are soft and touching, but at the same time, express the energy of life.

And oh!!!! the contrast in the middle. Regard, 1:08. Right after the most explosive melodies comes the peace. The contrast is very noticeable, yet it does not feel awkward. It feels natural, like sunshine after the storm. Listen… does it bring innermost peace of your mind and soul? (or does it bore you to death…) Imagine, a green meadow with sunshine mildly pouring down, and the right amount of wind blowing, the right temperature… It seems just like a paradise, yet, it has longings that even a paradise cannot quench.

And another contrast. 3:24; listen! It goes back to the start. Exact same notes. But, different feelings conveyed because you are experiencing this after the peaceful moment.

And at 4:14, you will notice that the music starts taking a different course. Dramatic, and tragic, almost. However, those are also the beauty of life; they make you ‘alive’. Again, very delicately expressed. It makes one think of sorrow and yet, marvel at the beauty of it.

Immediately at 4:29, there is yet another twist. It is as if one has acquired all the knowledge of the world, and knows both sorrow and delight, both unrest and peace. I see God.

So, through twists and turns and contrasts, this music lets us feel the awe of life, whether it be sorrow or happiness. If you listen carefully, it is as if reading a beautiful story of life. Life is not always full of delight. Sometimes it is filled with misery. However, even those moments make life beautiful and ‘alive’. Those two are not always separate concepts. You learn to cope with both of them. And when you’ve acquired certain point of wisdom, you are way above the psychology of this earth; you are beyond and feel the final peace that is meant to be in your heart.

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. Delicate, delicate, PURELY delicate. I have used the word ‘delicacy’ and its alternative forms about seven times. And beauty, about 7 times as well. ‘Yet’, 5 times. However, that is all I can say. Chopin’s work is delicacy, yet paradoxical, but therein lies the true beauty.

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Chopin Ballade No.1

February 7, 2011

Ok, back our ‘his delicacy’, Frédéric Chopin.

Listen… (I personally LOVEEEE Zimerman’s touch here. 🙂 )

Basically, I explained everything I have to say about Chopin in my previous entry, but yet again, IT IS DELICATE. One could never use too much of that term when describing Chopin.

At the start… listen to his delicate touches, and delicate notes. They are quiet, yet they have a power to touch minds. They are simple, yet they capture minds. They make you focus.

This music is soft, yet amazingly romantic. I myself am practicing this very piece at this moment, and I think of romance when I play it. The emotion of love helps to carry out the notes better.

There is also a hint of faint longing. At every turn of the music, listen… longing, the longing is hiding. The desperation of it! If you inspect the pianist’s expression, the solemn longing is in his face.

At the same time, there is mystery. The music is quite veiled, but not too much. There is the beauty of it; it stimulates wonders to the listeners, yet do not give all the answers.

You may have realized, by this point, that I have used ‘~, yet ~’ form a lot. Yes, contradictions. As irony in literature is beautiful, this contrast in music is ‘delicate’. This is really hard to craft in music; that is why it has to be carved ‘delicately’, just as Chopin.

Music is an art, just as art, dance, and literature is. It is also wonderfully scientific and mathematical. And it contains history and philosophy.

In this perspective, how is this Ballade really like?

Well, there are patterns. Repeating patterns. With different notes and feelings. He plays with them, the pieces, and does a very good job with it. Again, his ‘play’ is ‘delicate’, like building a sand castle that, by a single mistouch, will break down.

So; it is not just ‘mere music piece’. It is everything.

Imagery, for example. How many imageries does it create? A moon, a moon clouded by clouds and mists, a peaceful yet dark waves, a love, happiness, tragedy; to only name a few. And yet, philosophies and the weight of life lie upon.

Listen one more time. Keep these in mind. And do not limit it to what I’ve explained; remember, music expresses ‘everything’.

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Frédéric Chopin

January 27, 2011

This is Frédéric Chopin. What comes to your mind when you look at his portrait?

Well, first of all, definitely not ‘masculine’ or ‘well-built’. He is closer to feminine and delicate. And yes, those were his characters. Known to be quite feminine and ill very often, he was a delicacy of a man. Is that bad? No, of course not. Not at all in this case, at least. His ‘delicacy’ produced some of the most beautiful pieces in music history. Also known as ‘the poet of the piano’, his music is ‘delicacy’ itself. No other words to explain its beauty. I’ve used the word ‘delicacy’ in this paragraph 4 times, but that word describes his music and the true person that he was.

His music trickles into your soul though those delicate notes… so carefully and ‘delicately’ carved. Carved. Pieced. Written. Painted. Stroked. Just pure delicacy and beauty. Its pureness is almost astounding. And at the same time, it has traces of romance and deep passion.

It’s as seeing a pure gem with light shining through… and beautiful color spectrum visible at its edge… and you wonder and gape at its beauty.

Ok, sadly, today was just an introduction of this amazing guy. 🙂 On my next post, I will include a piece by Chopin that shows his million different charms really well.

(picture citation: http://www.pianoparadise.com/chopin.jpg)

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My Little Music Background

January 16, 2011

Ok, it seems a little bizarre that a teenager would want to write about ‘classical music’. Yes, I understand.

Nonetheless, my love of classical music is still huge. 🙂 But hey, how did I grow to love it so much?

Um, starting from my grandpa. He was trying to major in music, he was a big music enthusiast. However, his circumstances did not allow him; back then, the Korean War had begun. And then, my dad and his siblings were born. Our family was very poor at that time. My dad had loved music from his childhood and wanted to pursue his career in it. My grandparents, however, had to stop him because they could not afford it. My dad did not give up and got accepted into a prestigious music high school. Ever since he has studied music, and now he is a music professor.

In my family, the ‘music gene’ runs, as we say it. Starting from my grandpa, my dad and some of his other siblings had shown great musical talents. Now me and my cousins are third generation, and two of my cousins are already pursuing career in music. One is a singer and the other just recently got accepted in to the same high school my dad used to attend. His brother actually once considered majoring in saxophone few years ago but decided to just put it as his hobby. My other cousins also have great talents and use them in churches. And there is one baby boy who is our fourth generation (finally!) and he is a drum genius. He is only about 2 years old and has never learned how to play drums, but he ROCKS.  🙂 He has his own beats and shows amazing skills.

And I am certainly not an exception. Being my dad’s daughter, I had a lot of opportunities to encounter music since I a baby. He took me to many classical concerts (although when I was young, I used to sleep in those…. cough cough) and taught me a lot of things about music. I started learning piano ever since I was seven, and according to my teacher had a great talent. From then I had met many different teachers, and when I was in first grade, my teacher convinced me and my parents to major me in piano. Since then on I had lots of opportunities to take part in many different piano competitions and concerts. However for a little girl, the amount and burden of practices were too much to bear. Practicing for hours the same thing over and over again was not something that I wanted to do. We decided to just leave it to be my hobby.

However, then, I was just so tired of it that the very sound of the piano aggravated me. So I REALLY quit. For a year. And then I missed it too much and realized how big piano and music were to my life. Ever since then, I’ve played continually, although not necessarily professionally. 🙂

But it is perfectly alright, I mean I found another joy in it. I’ve tried many different genres of music since then but as I played more and more, realized that no other music could have the deepness of classical music. Its deepness awed me, and still does. It takes more than 10 times of work to accomplish one classical piece compared to other genres, but the one that really touches my soul is indeed classical music.

Now I love it as it is, and appreciate it the most. I am a big fan of it, although sometimes I have to admit it is a bit embarrassing to say that I am. I know people’s reactions; “Oh you like CLASSICAL MUSIC?” or “Oh wow.” or something along that line. And of course, it does not mean that I shun other genres of music. I love music overall and the other genres have their own tastes.

Yes, so this is my little journey of classical music. 🙂

To add onto it a bit more, I was able to let go of it happily and still embrace it the way it is because I found another passion in my life; math. 🙂 This is very off topic, but there are a lot of hidden relationships between those two and it is amazing how that is. These two companions have been amazing for me and will continue to be. 🙂

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The Life of Beethoven

December 4, 2010

This is Ludwig Van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 in C minor. Listen for a while.

Tragic? and sad? Yes, those emotions should be in this piece, because Beethoven composed it. His life was full of difficulties, expressed very well through all his music. He lost his hearing, which was an unimaginable loss for an ingenious musician like him. Also, he was a very, very aggressive man, known to have quick temper.

He mostly composed his music in minor chords. It somehow conveys his difficulties in life. You may think he is just a bad-tempered man, but actually, there is so much more than that in him. His music has depth that even Mozart’s music does not have. Although he was not born with innate talents as Mozart, he was a very, very hard-working person and strived for the best music he could produce. As a result, his music reveals all his efforts through its depth.

This piece may seem tragic. Well, it is. It shows his distress. However, from time to time, you could also hear soft melodies that are very emotionally touching. This makes me think that although he was an aggressive man outside, he might have had a soft side inside him that he could only reveal through his music. He was really living his life in music; it was only through his creation that he could truly unveil himself and be who he really was.

This song is such a masterpiece that truly shows that aspect. Listen…

Ohh.. it is just too beautiful to be true. It almost makes me cry every time I listen to it. Was this really him? The one oppressed behind his own strong character? So deeply touching… and again, the depth in his music makes people more engaged. In a way, his music contains philosophies. It makes you look back at your life and wonder deeply.

His effort was so sincere that even after he became deaf he never stopped his music. Never. Even in his deathbed. Ahh… every time I listen to his music I remind myself of his effort and it brings up deep respect from the bottom of my heart. ❤

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Bread and Butter Waltz by Mozart :)

December 1, 2010

In relation to the previous entry…

Ohhhh….. Mozart!

Just listen. Stop reading. STOP READING AND LISTEN.

done?

Hahahaha. Pure innocence.

How could this be? Starting from the title ‘Bread and Butter’? This is the MOST ADORABLE PIECE of all classical music 🙂 Well, in my opinion it is.

Doesn’t it just pull out purity and youth from you? It has a magic; it makes you young again! (Well only the moment you are listening to it… 🙂 )

Soft piano tunes.. doesn’t it just make you imagine soft butter spreading lightly on bread? What imagery does it create for you?

Really, it is hard to say that a piece of classical music is CUTE. Ok, honestly I was going to move on to Beethoven for a while, but I COULD NOT skip without presenting this adorable cute music that reveals Mozart so well.

When listening to Mozart, it is very hard to believe that he was such a nuisance… maybe he was just too childish for his age, even in adulthood. His music makes me imagine him as an innocent, playful man.

I honestly do not know if this is true, but I heard somewhere that he composed this one when he was three. Well, if he really did, I’m not surprised. I mean, it’s Mozart. DUH. 🙂 He could play violin and piano with his eyes covered and he could play piano backwards. Yes, I am very thankful that this music genius was ever born on this earth and presented us with wonderful music.

Ok, so back to my purpose… I WILL write about Beethoven on my next entry. 🙂 He is a fun guy to explore, so be ready!!

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Mozart Sonata For Two Pianos In D K488

November 29, 2010

Ahhh… Mozart!!

Almost all of Mozart’s music is lighthearted and playful. His music contains everlasting innocence and youth. Even after his death, he has left a great legacy for centuries. This is the true beauty of classics… the beauty never fades and always remain.

Mozart was a true genius that the world had never seen before, and never was going to, and definitely never will. Even in his time, he was known as the greatest musician of his time–which gradually led to centuries. However, he was infamous for dissipation and shallowness, regardless of his talents. As a person, he was more of a nuisance to those around him.

His characters are very well shown through a lot of his music. It generally tends to have lighter emotions and mischievous innocence. It is very rarely written in minor chords. He might have been a troublesome nuisance, but his transparency with his child-like characteristics were maybe what he truly wished to reveal through his music.

And in the history of classical music, there appears another figure as important as Mozart, if not more–Ludwig van Beethoven. His life and music were completely opposite from Mozart’s. How? and how does his music reveal that? I will elaborate more on that topic on my next entry.

For now, just listen and enjoy Mozart’s Sonata for two pianos, but do not take it very seriously; remember, lightheartedness is the key to enjoy this particular piece. 🙂