A Perfect Evening With Chopin

Yundi, Winnder of the 2000 Chopin Competition

And so my week long vacation in Japan has ended and what a better end to the vacation than going to a live piano performance by Yundi, the 2000 Chopin Competition Winner, at Bangkok’s Cultural Centre which happens to be built with a grant by the Japanese in celebration of our King’s 60th Birthday.  All’s well that ends well they say. 

I was fortunate to have gotten complimentary tickets from a dear friend of mine who is a regular at these events and always manages to magically have free tickets.  Lucky for me 🙂  Thank you again! You know who you are 😀  And so a day after my arrival from Japan and a night before returning to work, I went to listen to Chopin at a cultural centre built with a grant from the Japanese.   The Japanese whom are also known to love Chopin. Chopin who was born in a country with which I grew up.  How strange it is when you think about all these linkages.

The world is indeed a strange place.  Everything is connected.

I love attending these concerts and try to go as often as I can, but as things often go, I don’t get to go as often as I’d like.  When I do, it’s always something I savour.  This performance was one that I enjoyed very much not only because Yundi played the piano with such enthusiasm and precision that it rang through your soul, but also because it reminded me of my childhood days in Poland.

His first piece was the Nocturnes: Op. 9, No 1 and I remember it well.  It was one I had learnt to play growing up in Chopin’s country, but the way in which he and I played it on the piano of course differed like night and day. So great was the contrast.  Yundi, played it with his heart and soul.  He was one with piano and played it like it was an extension of his body.  The audience, several hundreds in number, all sat quietly daring not to move an inch nor cough.  Silence was here and now and all we were to hear were the soft sounds of the nocturnes (music of the night) being played with their gentle melodies and humming bass of the piano.  The nocturne was graceful and elegant, like a lady waltzing by.  When I play it, it probably sounds like a lady coughing and suffering from the cold. No good.

Yundi’s performance of Chopin was undoubtedly one of the best I’ve ever heard.  Even in the softest tones, you could feel the passion in his fingers and then all of a sudden when the melody changed pace, you’d feel and hear the change in tempo.  He did it with such precision and brilliance it’s incredible.  I sat there astounded as I am sure did many people.  It’s no wonder he won the 2000 Chopin Competition.  Not only did he win first place, but he was also the youngest pianist to have ever won this competition at 18 years of age.  Imagine that.  18.  I was still just trudging my way through college at 18. Oh well that’s life.

And so I had a wonderful evening, a perfect end to my week long trip to Japan.  Quietly winding down to the gentle and elegant melodies of Chopin’s Nocturnes.  Sitting in the dark, with the notes echoing through my soul and mind, I was at peace.  At peace with the world and ready once more to face what come.

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