Cross-posted from our companion daily blog site The Chopin Currency: By “Currency” we mean just how contemporary – and how powerfully it resonates in our own time, nearly 200 years since the composer’s birth.

This month we’re getting a compelling reminder of just how “current” Chopin’s music is from, of all places, MTV Networks, who commissioned this powerful and moving PSA/Web film called “None of Us Are Free” to raise awareness for disaster relief in Myanmar (a/k/a Burma). The film begins with Chopin’s Nocturne in C Minor, Op. 48, No. 1 (as well as a bit of the Fantaisie-Impromptu at the end…)…to dramatic effect:

None Of Us Are Free- the Burma Film

Now that you’ve heard that snippet,

Hear pianist Polina Khatsko play this poignant Nocturne in C minor, Op. 48, No. 1 in a Chopin Project live performance at the University of Michigan’s Britton Recital Hall.

Now, some details as to how Fryderyk C’s music got involved, courtesy of motiongrapher.com:

When and how the music was incorporated?
The music played a huge role in setting the tone and pacing of the piece. We knew that it would be huge in setting the right mood so it had to be perfect. We listened to a lot of tracks when we were cutting the first previz [sic] edits and when we heard Chopin’s nocturnes, we knew we found the right music. It had all the right elements, movement, and form.

Dante Nou who was working in—house with us took the two pieces we had roughly cut together and started tweaking them. Nate, our editor had some ideas about cadence and drawing out notes and keys and we just started fucking with it. By the time we finished the edit, the music had developed equally—it was then the foundation of what we took to Good Sounds. They replayed the original pieces and put their own loveliness in the mix—more sound design and tweaking, and by the time we finished the picture the music had finished as well.

There’s more about the “making of” the PSA on Gossipfeast.com as well, quoting from the MTV Press Release: “With the powerful melody from the feted virtuoso pianist Chopin, viewers will watch the beautiful red flowers float and dance towards Burmese soil.”

  • Susanne Prüser

    Hi Fred,
    I’m Ben’s mom Sue from Germany, you remember me? I just found your website after I had asked Tana for its name again. I’m currently listening to Paulina Khatsko playing and I am reminded of that wonderful evening family and friends spent at Jim’s and Tana’s house on Friday April 21st, and later everybody came to your place where you introduced us to your Chopin project. Of course I don’t want to miss being one little dot on your world map, so this dot is for Lübeck, Germany. I like browsing through all the Chopin information and listening to the music. The Burma video is great! It was nice meeting you and finding out about your project.
    Best wishes and please say hi to Jim, Tana and Whitty. Yours, Sue