In November 1838 Frédéric Chopin, George Sand and her two children sailed to Majorca to escape the Parisian winter. They settled in an abandoned monastery in the mountains above Palma, where Chopin finished one of the great works of musical Romanticism – his 24 Preludes. There was scarcely a decent piano on the island, so Chopin worked on a small pianino made by a local craftsman, which remained in their monastic cell for seventy years after he and Sand had left.
This talk traces the history of Chopin’s 24 Preludes through the instruments on which they were played, the pianists who interpreted them and the traditions they came to represent. It begins and ends with the Majorcan pianino, which during the Second World War assumed an astonishing cultural potency as it became, for the Nazis, a symbol of the man and music they were determined to claim as their own.
Venue: Burgh House – Music Room 3