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Chopin's Last Concert in Paris

Following on my post about the Présences Festival, there is another interesting musical event in Paris, which already took place on December 21. It was a re-enactment of Frédéric Chopin's final concert in Paris, which occurred on February 16, 1848, in the Salons Pleyel (20, rue Rochechouard, in the 9th arrondissement). That hall no longer exists, but the program was recreated in another hall where Chopin did indeed perform, the la Salle de l'Ancien Conservatoire (2 bis, rue du conservatoire, also in the 9th), which now belongs to the Conservatoire National Supérieur d'Art Dramatique. This event was was presented as part of a season of Polish music in France, Nova Polska, sponsored by the Société Chopin de Paris with the support of the Narodowy Instytut Fryderyka Chopina (Fryderyk Chopin National Institute) in Warsaw and the Conservatoire National Supérieur d'Art Dramatique in Paris. Simon Corley was there, and his review appears on He is the only one to print the entire program:

  • Mozart's Piano Trio no. 5, K. 542, a piece that Chopin revered
  • Chopin's Nocturne, op. 48, no. 1; Barcarolle, op. 60; Etudes, op. 10, no. 12, and op. 25, no. 1; Berceuse, op. 57; Sonate pour violoncelle et piano, op. 65 (excerpts); Préludes, op. 28, no. 3 et 18; Mazurkas, op. 17, no. 4, and op. 24, no. 2; and Waltzes, op. 64, no. 1 and 2
  • Vincenzo Bellini, Ariette da camera (three excerpts)
  • Gaetano Donizetti, Le Crépuscule and Ah! Rammenta, o bella Irene
  • Giacomo Meyerbeer, De ma première amie, La Fille de l'air, and Ballade de Raimbaut, from Robert le Diable
The performers included Maciej Pukulski (piano), Henri Demarquette (cello), Olivier Charlier (violin), soprano Olga Pasichnik, and tenor Tomasz Kuk (here are their pictures). It will be broadcast on France Musiques on January 19, 2005, at 8 pm, in France.

1 comment:

Jean Townsend said...

The opening solo nocturne was described eloquently by a contemporary as a work whose “chief subject is a masterly expression of a great powerful grief ... told in an agitated recitando; celestial harps come to bring one ray of hope, which is powerless in its endeavor to calm the wounded soul, which sends forth to heaven a cry of deepest anguish. There are fevers and cold sweats in this music; it is not healthy music, and it is not to be performed in a robust manner, but rather rendered almost as if in a somnambulant daze, with a tremulous delicacy of intensity, as if it were a living thing whose nerves were being operated upon, where every touch might mean life or death”.
Interesting that Chopin who was quite sickly at the time should have chosen this work.