Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Liszt & Chopin In Paris
The music of Chopin is the song of the Earth. Chopin is our planet’s greatest son and his music is the song of the Earth. In "Liszt & Chopin In Paris" film we pay homage not only to Franz Liszt, the greatest virtuoso of all time, but to Chopin, his friend and nemesis bringing our thanks, love and reverence to the greatest composer of the piano of all time recollecting with joy and gratitude how over the years our lives were enriched and beautified through his music.
Ignacy J. Paderewski’s who was one of the greatest icons of classical piano referred to Chopin's music as "The Song of The Earth" in a speech delivered at the Centenary of Chopin’s birth in 1910 in Lemberg (Poland) today Lviv (Ukraine).
How timely his statements are today in view of the recent crisis in this ancient land, how timely now is to speak of Chopin’s music that strengthens and heals our spirit and re-inspires our hearts in peace which most human beings desire when awake from a night of dreadful dreams, poisoned air and self-inflicted misery hoping to kindle the flame of universal justice that too many times have been fouled by dark, blackening smoke of present times.
Remembering that we were taught to respect all of humanity and to live in contempt of our selfish wishes, and to give and forgive and not yield to hate, as these are the values that our fathers, forefathers and brothers have thrust upon us through the heritage of our generations and our civilization that brought us to the present into the clutches of today and the chaotic future that looms over us every day in the infinite abyss of time. So what is the Song of the Earth?
The answer is in "Liszt & Chopin In Paris" feature film now being developed for production, a historic masterpiece soon to be presented on thousands of movie screens around the world with breathtaking costumes, cinematography and a magnificent soundtrack featuring the radiant spirit of Chopin’s music whose valor, strength and energy screams so loudly and yet so subtly in the midst of human suffering troubled by affliction, heartache, creative pain, hardship and the pangs of existence while at all time screaming loudly - long live humanity!
Art and all that springs from the depths of the human soul is the outcome of a union between reason and emotion, and if music is the most accessible of all arts to us, it is because of its vibrations that are cosmic by nature. It is the only art that actually lives with all its elements and vibrations with its rhythm, tone, harmony and pulse with all the elements of life inside us even though often stealthy and fragile, yet always mysterious and mighty.
Mingled with the flow of rushing waters, the breath of the wind, the murmur of the forests, music lives in Earth's seismic thrusts, in the mighty motion of the planets, in the hidden conflicts of infinite atoms, in all the lights and spheres and in the colors and shapes that dazzle and soothe our nerves and, in our eyes. It lives in the blood of our arteries, in every pain we endure, in our passion and ecstasy that moves our hearts and bodies. Music is everywhere, soaring beyond and above the range of human speech into the unearthly spheres of divine emotions.
The energy of the Universe knows no respite as it resounds unceasingly through Time and Space, its manifestation, rhythm and origin by the law of physics keeping order in all worlds known and unknown, maintaining perfect cosmic harmony with its melodies constantly flowing in the unbroken chain of starry spaces along the Milky Way, amid worlds beyond worlds, and worlds within worlds, inside and outside through spheres of human and superhuman realities thus creating a wondrous and eternal unity in us in the harmony of universal being.
People and nations rise, new worlds begin and crumble, stars and suns are born and die so that they may give forth tone and sound and substance, and when silence falls upon them then Life ceases, but everything utters in music.
The Universe sings to us, it speaks to us, subtly or loudly in infinite variety of tones, yet it always has its own voice, using its own gestures, as if according to its own particular score, and the soul of a nation too, speaks, sings and utters music - but how?
Human music is but a fragment of eternal music, its form created by the mind and by the hands of man being subject to endless transformations. Music could not exist without silence, for it is from silence that we carve our existence and Chopin’s music can express this best of all.
Times change, people change and every generation has its hour of dawn, as our thoughts and feeling take new shapes and new people put on new clothes and garments while the youth, the next generation bow their heads unwillingly to that which previously moved and enraptured their fathers and forefathers with thoughts filled with new dreams of the future, their thirsts, intoxications and enthusiasms are called on to impel humanity towards new, unmeasured heights and beliefs that every generation searches and desires looking for new beauty, but for beauty on its own.
In this spirit we have began our film ”Liszt & Chopin In Paris” with works of art that come to life to serve the needs of the moment, but even though for that moment they take a shorter space of time these works endure longer than their creators and sometimes as it is the case of both Franz Liszt and Frederic Chopin they endure forever.
The stamp of novelty is not merely of one generation, but of a whole new world and new generations in a whole new period whose lights and ideas they still reveal after long years, and there new works in order, timeless and strong with undying youth, luminous and powerful in which truth and beauty speaks loudly with the voice of every new generation, and with the new voice of the whole race, the voice of the whole world and of the very earth which brought them forth.
Change follows change in us almost without transition as we pass from blissful rapture to sobbing woe where more than often a single step divides our sublimest ecstasies from the darkest depths of spiritual despondency, and we see the proof of this in every aspect of our daily lives; we see it in our personal and political framework of experiences, in our personal and professional development; in our creative work and in daily troubles and challenges of our existence, as well as in our social discourse and our internal and personal affairs. This change is palpable everywhere.
Maybe this inherent characteristic of human spirit comes forward best when we compare ourselves with other happier, more satisfied faces whoever they may be and this often strikes us as a pathological condition that artists throughout the ages have tried to express and cried out loud, but being poets they are hampered by the limiting precision of thought and the strictness of the words they could not endure that no written language can express entirely, even ours with all its wealth and beauty.
But Chopin was a musician and his music alone, perhaps alone his music can reveal it all - the fluidity of our feelings and our frequent yearnings for beauty and infinity, our heroic concentrations and frenzied ecstasies that tightly face the shattering of rocks and impotent despairs in our minds where occasionally our thought darkens and the desire for action perishes, and as Chopin’s hands strung the harp of our race with chords so tender, so mysterious, so mighty and so compelling we realize that his music expresses all the above to us best of all, the yearning of maidenhood, the grave manhood, the tragic old age, the lighthearted and joyful youth, true love's enfolding softness, the valiant and chivalrous strength of our dreams, wishes, actions and desires - all these are ours in the music of Chopin.
His music, tender and tempestuous, tranquil and passionate, heart-reaching, heart-breaking, potent and overwhelming eludes the metrical discipline.
Chopin’s music rejects the fetters of rhythmic rules and refuses submission to the metronome as if it were the yoke of some hated ruler. His music bids us near, draws us closer to hear pure beauty and perfection, and to know and realize that our whole humanity, our whole world and the whole planet Earth lives, feels, and moves in tempo rubato.
So why should the spirit of our Earth be so clearly expressed from Space in Chopin’s music above all others? Why should the voice of our planet be gushed forth suddenly from his heart as if from a fountain, from depths unknown, so vital, cleansing and fertilizing? We must ask this of him – the great Chopin alone who can open the secret womb of truth to us, but who has never yet told us all, and who perhaps will never tell us.
The average listener, unfamiliar with the art of music hears the masterpieces of Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven with indifference, at times even with impatience.
Polyphonic ingenuities and the enormous wealth and variety of harmonic intricacies, lucid enough to the trained and understanding ear are inaccessible to the average listener as the mind loses its way in the mystery of figures and attention wanders and strays amid the marble forms of a beautiful, but German sonata, and as the listener confronts the amazing structures of a classic symphony he or she often feels chilled and ill at ease as if in a foreign church and often cannot feel the Promethean pangs of the world's greatest musician performing the piece.
But let Chopin's voice speak and the listener changes immediately. His or her hearing becomes keen, the attention concentrated; the eyes glisten, the blood flows more quickly, the heart rejoices and tears as if on a signal flow down the cheeks, be it the dancing lilt of native Mazurka, the Nocturne's melancholy, the crisp swing of the Krakowiak, the mystery of a Prelude, the majestic stride of a Polonaise, or an Etude, the vivid but surprising Ballade, always epic and tumultuous, or the Sonata, noble and heroic, and the listeners understand it all, feels it all, because it is all theirs and alive as it is the very song of the Earth.
Once more on hearing Chopin’s music the air enfolds our being and spreads before us as the landscape of our home. Under the sad sky's vague blue the listener sees the wide plains upon which he was born, the dark edges of distant forests, plowed and fallow lands, the fruitful fields and the sterile sandy stretches.
A gentle hill has risen at whose feet the twilight mist hovers mysteriously above the green hollow of the meadows, the gurgling of the brook reaching our ears, the scant leaves of the birch rustle tearfully touching our ears, as the wind plays in the fall poplars and strokes the green waves of yielding wheat, and a perfumed breath blows from the ancient pine forest, wholesome, resinous and magnificent.
As we listen, all this becomes peopled by strange, legendary shapes of long ago, that our forfathers conjured to sight as their unearthly and half-forgotten beings that come to life again in the spring of the night. A Scherzo that beholds with the wild frolics of demi-gods and demi-goddesses, phantoms without numbers, haunted fields and meadows holding us captured in the dense thicket where wolves struggle and roguish imps are at their pranks, and their little hovering love-sprites return to encircle their Queen of Love, and hear the deathless song which long ago burst her bosom open and laid bare to all men's sight a heart broken and loving, full of hope.
Now, this immemorial raises its timeless voice and thunders gloomily, threateningly and solemnly as the holy groves tremble and the scared elves vanish from the surface of the lake while the lightning flashes burn the sky. A storm awakens and has broken, sudden and terrific, driving, pursuing and shattering, as if caught in the tempest's whirling blast, the proud fans of the Druids totter with the fall of Summer's breath as the music of our ancestors blows softly in our souls.
The sea of golden wheat in wind tattered fields has dried away, the shocks and sheaves standing still, the sickle at rest and the light quail and graver partridge stretch their wings searching the rich stores of the stubble. Waves of the harvest song are in the air, while from marsh and pasture comes the echo of the herdsman's pipe, and not far away from our ears there is the hum and bustle at the wayside inn where fiddlers play dexterously.
They play by ear, thrusting in a frequent, augmented fourth so familiar to us when a sudden, rude bass supplies a stubborn pedal, and than our folk dances briskly, striding, singing slowly, musingly a healthy sway, wayward, merry, yet soaked with eerie melancholy of favorite melody. In the little church across the road an organ sounds, poor and humble, away, there in the stately Manor lights are flaring in the halls; great nobles, county electors maybe have gathered there in colorful, glistening throng. Music sounds. That’s "Liszt & Chopin In Paris"....
In London, with Lord Chamberlain or whoever is present and of most dignified rank at the time steps forth to lead the Polonaise.There comes the clank of swords, the rustle of brocaded silks against their wide sleeves, purple lined as with dashing step as the couples march on proudly while soft smooth words that begin to flow towards fair cheeks and lovely eyes - the glib words of old Polish tongue in the foreign land, softly interspersed by many in English here and there, and perhaps with a timid touch of French.
Than we are back in Paris, or Italy perhaps where the dance never ceases, but now and than an old man, long-bearded, white-haired, silver-voiced tells us some misty tale to the sound of a bag-pipe, lute and harp. He chants of lands beyond the seas, speaking of Italian skies, the jousts of troubadours and sings of victorious battles lost and won, vast immortal struggles, unended and unsolved where all listen and understand.
Out in the garden the air is sweet, warm with breath of roses with the sigh of jasmine and lily while a lovely daughter of the house rests under the shielding murmur of the limes caught in a starry Nocturne gently whispering words of love to some sad youth in the tender sorrows of the summer night.
Summer has passed now, and so have many summers. Gone are the armored knights and their conquering marches, fallen are the wings of the intrepid hussars who once victoriously plowed the Baltic waves, as the manhood of the Lancer's nobles is no more and nothing remains, but a memory fast-held in the annals of our glory.
Autumn comes and here are the Preludes that almost seem to be Epilogues of our lives. Is this Life's autumn, our own, or is this the Autumn of our life from where Life itself begins? The days are shorter now, the light wanes, fair times and merry are rarer now, yet when the sun shines forth in its glory, it is hard to tear oneself away from so much wealth of the matchless color to face the consciousness of dusk and outweighing shade. It’s the music of the Piano.
The old timepiece that measured fairer days for our grandfathers and great-grandfathers now solemnly strikes late at midnight hour while the gloomy wind howls in the empty chimney and suddenly one hears the measured drops of the autumn rain once again, but this time with the soft thud of withered leaves falling to earth and the mournful rustle of orphaned branches.
The old graveyard is full of ghosts amid the ancient mounds and hillocks full of shadows whose ghost was there before and whose spirit came back from the past. The music speaks as if it was part of immortality itself, as it harbors all, great or little, strong or humble, famed or nameless, stripping us of the errors and quilts of our earthly covering and bringing forth hope anew from the cleansing depths of our soul, beautified, ennobled. That’s the music of Chopin and the song of the Earth.