Longtime, no see! It’s been winter since I’ve come on here to blog with everyone, and now the snow has melted away and yielded to the unquestionable beauty of the Appalachian Spring (get it?).
Since we’ve last seen each other, I’ve been writing an opus of piano pieces. An opus, for those who don’t know, could be akin to “album” in today’s lingo. It is a collection of pieces meant to be together at the composer‘s discretion. This opus I’ve been working on is a work called Pieces in the Style of Chopin. As last discussed, Chopin is my favorite composer and I’ve drawn so much inspiration from his works and his short life (he died at 39). A particular piece has stood out from the others, and that is the Nocturne in D-Flat Major, the sixth piece out of the eight piece set.
I actually finished it today, and I adore it so much. It’s funny what composing does to a person, much like when anyone creates art or food. One simply assumes it’s going to be bad until it is all put together. That’s what I’ve been living under this whole time when making this nocturne; there was a constant stream of “Oh, this is going to sound horrible”, “Why do you write music?”, “This should never be listened to by anyone”. And then I listened to it when it was completed; the result was astounding. It is surprisingly simple for what I was going for, which was an imitation of Chopin infused with my own personality.
Then I realized what was so appealing about it for me: it was an honest representation of who I am as a person. As a composer, I always strive for romanticism in my music. I simply do not love any other time period’s music as much, and romantic music as a pianist is what people enjoy listening to the most. Then there’s me the hopeless romantic, who really wants true love someday. I’ve all but given up on the notion of love really here in my twenties. I’ve never been on a date or anything down that alley, so there’s a part of me always wondering if that’s normal. I find that the middle section that goes through some chromaticism from the relative minor (b-flat minor) to the key of the German augmented chord (A major). You don’t have to know theory; just know that it sounds cool, and you’ll figure out where I’m speaking.
What really struck me is that despite wanting to convey all of that meaning all of that romantic nature, all of the hopes I have for future love…it is simplistic. Yeah, there’s another melody going on sometimes, but the piano has been stripped of any pretense. All the showmanship…the potential virtuosic passages…all the things everyone expects from Romantic era piano music…it’s not there. What’s left is a simple poem, and much like those who craft meaning out of the written word, simple is always best on piano.
As I was writing this, the thought of me sharing this music with the world just is such a departure from how I always view my music. I always feel so self-conscious and lack any sort of self-confident when discussing it. The concept is a lot like going to the pool and committing to wearing a bikini or taking the shirt off before going in the water. Not only is there a comfort level needed with the material, but a lot of comfort is needed with the person providing it and “displaying” it to the world. Well, for me, the Nocturne is like doing all of that after dieting for a few months and seeing the results. A lot of musical dieting has gone on with the Opus No. 5, and I hope you enjoy the resulting culmination of the collection.