Saturday 2 October 2010

Love me three times

So, Chopin Year celebration is still going. It has it's good and bad sides. The bad (or not exactly bad, but slightly disgusting) side is - everyone's trying to benefit from it and simply use Freddie's name to promote themselves (and all that almost 200 years after he's gone - that's what I call FAME!). The good side is: since so many various musicians get themselves into that "Chopin Wow!" action, we get a chance to hear a lot of weird, surprising music combinations.

During my last Christmas holidays in Poland, to satisfy my huge patriotic-cultural hunger, I have bought a nice CD: Andrzej Jagodziński trio - "Chopin, Sonata in B flat minor". I like that CD a lot, although I must confess that it took it a while to grow on me and still I need to be in a mood to listen to it. But where I am in the mood, I truly relish it.

BTW, to me "Chopin in jazz style" sounds a bit like "Eminem in HH style"... Just saying.

As every jazz fan knows, jazz live will always outrank jazz from a CD, so when being in Szczecin (my home town, PL) I heard that Andrzej Jagodziński Trio is in town and giving a concert - simply had to go.

The gig was absolutely awesome. First, the band performed a few small pieces, jazz-ing them in the usual theme-solo-solo-solo-theme way (that part was a bit dull, actually). After that, they presented the sonata itself. What they really did was to split the themes and motives of the original piece between each other, like orchestras tend to do, but all that in jazz spirit.

I know it sounds a bit weird and kinda hard to imagine, so I prepared a little sample for you:

Holidays are long gone, I got back to Dublin.

On Tuesday morning, catching up on facebook, I have found an info that on the very same day, at 7 pm, in Polish House (being quite close to work), there is a small recital of Sam Law, young pianist from Belfast. Chopin and "admission free" were more than enough to make me anticipate evening, humming mazurkas all day long.

I believe I have written it before, but just in case, I'll write it again: Chopin needs to grow on musician. It takes time, years of practice and maturity. Sam is only 19 years old and therefore, was a bit tense and unnatural at the beginning. However, after first 2 pieces he felt comfortable with the audience & venue and completely lost himself in the music he played. He put all his heart, passion and sensitivity in every single note played. At that point, despite the stiff atmosphere in the room, I got carried away and simply sank in the beauty of Sam's performance.

The form of the gig was simple, classical and somewhat commonplace, but Sam's devotion and passion made it unique and worth to remember.

The other thing that seems worth to remember is the fact of me going to that gig. Just think about it - you leave work and go listen to Chopin, instead of Lady Gaga or other club crap. I should do that more often.

Easily said and... surprisingly easily done!

On the very same day when I found out about Sam Law's concert, I have wandered to a website, only to realize that in two days from then I can participate another interesting Chopin-like experience: a band called Sarakina presenting their interpretation of Freddie's pieces in... Balkan style! More out of curiosity than hope for spiritual experience, I have booked a ticket and went to the gig.
And got totally awestruck!

I have absolutely no idea how on Earth they have come up with this. Accordion? Bagpipes? Polonaise transformed into some crazy folk dance? Without a piano?

But still, it's full of Chopin. It's a pure Chopin's music, it's essence and beauty intact.

Still hypnotised, after the show I have bought a CD and thus I can present a bit of the whole material to you:

All that three events have made me realize - again - that Chopin was (and is, by his work) great. He is pianists' curse, inspiration, "elitist sadness", national pride... But above all - he's a great unity of musicians all over the world.