Last night I made my last scheduled performance of the Chopin B Minor Sonata for the foreseeable future. I've been performing it in public since February and have only been playing it for about a year, and I have only really loved it about that long. Growing up, I spent endless hours listening to recordings. One that I loved in particular, was Vladimir Horowitz playing the second Chopin sonata (B-flat Minor). I immediately fell in love with that piece, was entranced by the playing (how could you not be) and listened to it every day for quite a while. As soon as I was able, I learned the piece and I've played it off and on now for many, many years. I of course, knew of and listened to the third Chopin sonata (B Minor) but I never really felt any fondness towards it or had any real interest in playing it.
About a year ago, I was at home, in my studio, staring at my music stacks waiting for inspiration to come flying off the shelves and smack me in the face. I spied the thin, yellow binding which read Chopin - Sonatas and pulled it down. I thought, 'What the heck…let's see what this is like." Immediately the book was open to the third sonata, I sat down, and started reading through it. Now, of course I knew what was coming; I had been listening to it and hearing it for years, but for some reason, in the act of creating these familiar sounds with my own fingers, I was suddenly blown away by the genius of the writing. I fell immediately in love and started working diligently, hardly spending a day without it.
I will mention that despite popular belief, Chopin's writing does not fit the hand comfortably - at least, that's how I've always felt. This sonata, and in particular the first and last movements, can be downright nastily uncomfortable. Despite that, this sonata has been very kind to me over the last 5 months, and I'm expecting to record it at some point, sooner rather than later.
I never thought I'd be writing that sentence - and you never know where inspiration might take you. Here's hoping that wonderful surprises like this never cease.