Chopin Threads

Just been listening and watching Garrick Olhson play Chopin’s 2nd piano concerto in E minor … magic J.

If you’ve read my novel Moon Song you may remember the part near the end where Mark plays the otherworldly organ when Pan shows him the threads and how to play them. Tonight I saw the threads from Olhson.

They reached out from him, out of the halo of darkness that surrounded him, like a womb of light, a womb of music.

And they reached out from Olhson to all the members of the orchestra, to the conductor, to the audience.

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen that.

The effect was magical. The orchestra was too large, playing on modern rather than period instruments and, of course, Olhson was playing on a modern Steinway rather than an Erard or Pleyel as Chopin would have. But Olhson has Chopin in is blood, in his bones. My eyes had bubble-tears in them the whole way through, I was on the edge of my seat, gasping as silently as I could through the whole thing. It was moments of pure joy, ecstasy. [Ye gods – this sounds incredibly purple prose but …]. Good music is joy, ecstasy, to me. My first experience of live Chopin was hearing Artur Reubinstein … I was very badly brought up by my husband as you can see J … Rubinstein has been the epitome of Chopin for me ever since. Horowitz and Ashkenazy were brilliant too. I shall go to see Olhson when he next plays in London. He’s not Reubinstein but he transported me.

Elen Sentier

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