Chopin's centenary

   On the subject of Chopin's centenary, which we announced the day before yesterday, one of our readers has brought it to our attention that the composer of genius was, some years ago, lauded in charming verse by M. Marcel Proust. Certain characteristics of his compositions, for example his "lightness of touch" which  break in upon the most melancholy of his Nocturnes and his Polonaises, were subtly portrayed in those verses:

        Chopin, ocean of sighs, of tears, of sobs,
        That a flight of butterflies pass over each moment,
        Gambolling above the sadness and dancing over the waves!
        . . . . . . . . .
        Continuously you cause to flow between every sorrow
        The dizzying and sweet host of your whim,
        Just as the butterflies flit from flower to flower.
        From your grief then your joy has its accomplice:
        The ardour of the whirlpool intensifies the thirst for tears.

   These verses harbour a delicate musical homage. The great pianist Édouard Risler, upon reading them in the collection in which they featured, asked permission to have them printed at the head of the programme for his concert dedicated to Chopin. We can do no better than to recall them here to celebrate Chopin's centenary.

    LE MASQUE DE FER. (The Iron mask)

Le Figaro, 3 March 1909. Reprinted in Essais.


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Created 10.06.22