Emotional Conservatism

Screen Shot 2013-01-08 at 2.37.22 AMMy favorite Chopin interpreters are the ones that can bring a reserved elegance out of Chopin’s pieces. I think Chopin is not about “the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings”, to quote Wordsworth’s famous definition of poetry. It is about emotion, yes, but emotion held in check. Eliot’s ideas about emotion have always felt more solid to me where Chopin was concerned, “not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality. But, of course, only those who have personality and emotions know what it means to want to escape from these things.” Loaded, to be sure, but considering Chopin’s refusal to allow his pieces to resound as the direct expression of either his personal life or musical representations/imitations of nature or scenes, maybe there is something to be said for it.

These things do not mean that passion is missing.

This means that the refined subtlety of Maurizio Pollini’s playing has always made apparent the intense passion at the heart of Chopin’s music rather than Lang Lang’s.

One Response to “Emotional Conservatism”
  1. Frédéric Chopin says:

    100% accurate. Every time I hear someone criticize Pollini, I think “oh boy, bet you love Lang Lang..”

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