Friday historical: this week's birthday boy, Chopin, is back - performed by none other than Sergei Rachmaninov. This (audio only) is the E flat Nocturne Op.9 No.2, but if you haven't heard Rachmaninov's playing of Chopin before, I urge you to seek out more. Listen out in this Nocturne for the singing yet also articulate and thoughtful right-hand tone, the way he balances the melody with the accompaniment, the consistency of atmosphere, the natural flow of rubato, the intensity of the concentrated pianissimo. And much more...
(If you want a laugh, or you don't mind risking your sanity, have a look at some of the comments on the Youtube page. These things should maybe carry government mental health warnings.)
Jessica Duchen is a music journalist and the author of four novels, two biographies and several stage works. She writes regularly for The Independent and BBC Music Magazine. Her latest novel, Songs of Triumphant Love, is published by Hodder.
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