Hooked on Chopin
Who was the favourite composer of the Steinway to Heaven Welkom Fest on 19th June 2004?
Chopin's works were chosen by three pianists independently of each other in succession.
Amsterdam-based composer and pianist Heleen Verleur played the popular polonaise. She was to give a concert the next day with her Trio Romantica (future Bon Journal entry).
Immediately after Heleen's performance, Allan Segall requested to play Chopin's famous raindrop prelude. Why? He explained that the chord sequence was exactly opposite of the polonaise.
One guest told me afterwards that Chopin's prelude touched him deeply. It reminded him of his late mother, a French concert pianist who had performed at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. He never learned to play the piano because she had practised on their Pleyel at home so much.
Just then, Rie Tanaka appeared. After bringing her home-made miso dip and tofu garlic dip at noon, she had to return home to teach piano. I knew she was coming late, but her arrival was very timely.
I asked her to play something. Anything.
She sat down and dived into the famous Fantasy Impromptu, which blew everyone away. It was obvious to all that she's a seasoned concert pianist. I announced that she had just released her first CD of Scarlatti, Schubert, and Schumann. After her performance, several guests asked me how they could get hold of her CD.
Much later, during the intermissions when guests tried the 1909 Steinway A from New York, we heard Ahti Salo play extracts from Chopin's piano concerto. Had I another score, we could have played this lovely concerto on two pianos!
20 June 2004 Sunday