Chopin News, Reviews & Previews:

Award-winning pianist to perform here
Vancouver Sun – British Columbia, Canada

Both a review (of a new DG CD) and a preview of the pending May 2 appearance in Vancouver by Polish pianist Rafal Blechacz...

This is a real coup. Blechacz, who is only 23, jumped into the spotlight overnight when he won all five top prizes in 2005’s Frederic Chopin Competition in Warsaw. For the first time in history, the jury decided not to award a second prize. The Vancouver stop is the only Canadian one in his first American tour of only five concerts. [….]

This first recording is a very exciting one, consisting largely of the works he’ll be performing in Vancouver, the revolutionary 24 Preludes of opus 28. This is amazing playing, remarkable for its clarity, directness and honesty. He makes what can be treacherous sound natural and simple. His playing evokes that supreme Brazilian pianist, Guiomar Novaes, who was very hard to equal in playing Chopin. This is a very special recording.

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Bit of a draught at bathtime
Brisbane Times – Brisbane,Queensland,Australia

An Aussie visitor to the Czech Republic discovers a delightful tradition in the Spa towns where Chopin once took the cure…

A beer bath may be an innovation here in west Bohemia but it’s certainly not the first time the region has been visited for its spas. The neighbouring towns of Karlovy Vary and Marianske Lazne, once frequented by Chopin, Nietzsche and Freud, are famous in western Europe for their magnesium-rich waters. Thousands of tourists visit for thermal treatments at exclusive health spas. Chopin probably never bathed in beer, however.

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Proust Questionnaire: Eleanor McEvoy
Athlone Advertiser – Westmeath,Ireland

Irish singer-songwriter dishes on F.C…

Q: What is your idea of perfect happiness?

A: Listening to Chopin while sipping champagne in a hot bath filled with bubbles and the one I love.

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Composing while Computing

Princeton University The Daily Princetonian – NJ, United States

More on the “geometrical music theory” from Princeton scholar Dmitri Tymoczko….

In his analyses of different pieces of music, Tymoczko was particularly struck by the pictorial representations of two musically unusual pieces by Chopin — the E-minor prelude and Chopin’s final composition, a mazurka in F minor.

“These are two pieces that people have really struggled to understand musically,” Tymoczko said. “It turns out that they explore a very coherent space, a sort of necklace made with four-dimensional hypercube beads that are linked together by a shared vertex.”

What’s most alarming about this discovery is that Chopin composed during the first half of the 19th century, a time when mathematicians understood very little about conceptualizing four-dimensional space. Still, Tymoczko said, the incredibly close correlation between Chopin’s music and four-dimensional geometry could not possibly be a coincidence. In other words, Chopin had some intuitive understanding of a branch of mathematics that would not be formally expressed or understood until decades after his death.

“It was an incredible point in history,” Tymoczko said of the early 19th century. “Humanity’s knowledge of the four-dimensional structure could only be expressed in the form of beautiful Romantic music.”

It’s a discovery that gives new meaning to the belief of mathematician and philosopher Gottfried Leibniz that “music is the pleasure the human soul experiences from counting without being aware that it is counting.”

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