Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Music and Poetry of Chopin's Raindrops

Rain Clouds in California.

The most famous piece of "rain" music in the classical canon is Fryderyk Chopin's Prelude in D-flat Major, Op. 28, No. 15.  Several contemporary poets wrote about this work for the anthology published in 2010, Chopin with Cherries: A Tribute in Verse.

To accompany the readers on their Chopin-inspired journey, here are some links to various pianists' interpretations of the Prelude:

Prelude in Majorca

Christine Klocek-Lim

The wet day carried rain into night
as he composed alone.
With each note he wept
and music fell on the monastery,
each note a cry for breath
his lungs could barely hold.
Even as his world
dissolved around him
“into a terrible dejection,”
he played that old piano in Valldemosa
until tuberculosis didn’t matter;
until the interminable night
became more than a rainstorm,
more than one man sitting alone
at a piano, waiting
“in a kind of quiet desperation”
for his lover to come home
from Palma.

When Aurore finally returned
“in absolute dark”
she said his “wonderful Prelude,”
resounded on the tiles of the Charterhouse
like “tears falling upon his heart.”
Perhaps she is right.
Or perhaps Chopin “denied
having heard” the raindrops.
Perhaps in the alone
of that torrential night
he created his music simply
to hold himself inside life
for just one note longer.


Prelude No.15 in D-flat Major, Op. 28. 

Quotes from Histoire de Ma Vie (History of My Life, vol. 4) by George Sand (Aurore, Baronne Dudevant).

(c) 2010 by Christine Klocek-Lim, published in Chopin with Cherries (Moonrise Press, 2010).

Chopin’s “Raindrop”

Cheryl M. Thatt

A steady rain
drips down
insistent as the minutes
he looks out the window
cannot escape it.

He translates rain
damp spirit
travels inward
notes whittle away the dreary
steady rain
a clock
in the distance punctuates the gray day
wrestling with his own dark language
his soft fingers caress the keys to sanity
slowly he shapes adversary into ally…
pounds out melancholy
by precious damn drop…

A steady rain
dripped down
like the click of a shutter
slippery hours
captured forever.                                                                  

(c) 2010 by Cheryl M. Thatt, published in Chopin with Cherries (Moonrise Press, 2010).

Prelude in D-Flat Major, Opus 28, No. 15

by Carrie A. Purcell

You have to
my teacher said
think of that note like rain,
steady, but who,
my teacher said
wants to hear only that?

On Majorca in a monastery
incessant coughing
covered by incessant composition
and everywhere dripping

sotto voce
move the rain lower
let it fill the space left in your lungs
let it triumph

We die so often
we don’t call it dying anymore

(c) 2010 by Carrie A. Purcell, published in Chopin with Cherries (Moonrise Press, 2010).

No comments:

Post a Comment