Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Chopin - Where Does the Strength Come From?

The other day I found myself thinking about portions of George Sand's written memories of her lover and companion, Frederic Chopin, especially during the period around 1837, 38; probably as a result of my recent decision to re-work issues germane to the great Polish musician's life experience.
When I remind myself that Chopin suffered from ill health rather straight on from around age twelve to his thirty ninth and final year, I ask myself:
Where does the strength come from?
And one can immediately add the likes of Beethoven, with his latter life a war with total deafness; or Moussorgsky and the incessant demons engulfing a life cut short by alcoholism, or an essentially unemployable Mozart, or a Scriabin who eventually inhabits a world foreign to that other world which he first resided in - and there are other composers as well, beset by elemental powers anathema to a basic sense of personal peace.
To be sure, there were 'good days' that Chopin experienced, and the Chopin during those periods was a man of good humor and assiduously vital social assets, which included the art of conversation, especially with such colleagues as Liszt and Schumann.
But, the 'dark days' were numerous and protracted, with bouts of pain and, at times, severe coughing of blood, accompanied, of course, by fits of depression and pronounced physical weakness.
One entry by Sand described Chopin as "wild-eyed, almost apoplectic, with hair standing on end." I at times wonder if some of Sand's descriptions in her memoir are a bit inflated; after all, she was a highly gifted novelist with a commensurate gift of language.
At any rate, it is without question that Chopin was indeed engulfed by a disease of fatal consequence, which constantly brings me around to the question "how did these wonderful creations come into being? Where did the strength that propelled these immortal images into our world, our lives, come from?"
It can only be the immense power of the indescribable, arcane gift that only The Few are given, that are the true, the only possibility...

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