A slice of home... abroad

Monday, March 01, 2010 - 07:47 PM

Some artists, for one reason or another,

 have had to leave their home countries to make a new life abroad. And in some cases, they never returned home again.

Chopin was Polish and French, but after his teenage years, left for Paris and never returned to his beloved homeland. While he embraced his new home and found a niche in bourgeois life, he also wrote many pieces that were deeply influenced by Polish rhythms and dance forms, holding on to, and honoring, his identity the way he knew how- through music.

If you were in a similar position, how would you choose to hold on to your heritage while in a new environment? What from your culture would you/do you relish and celebrate?

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Comments [14]

Esther - thanks for your questions and comments. It was a combination of all those things you described that make Chopin's music so appealing, plus the fact that his style was so intimate at a time when many other pianists were going for BIG, LOUD and virtuosic. You always hear his piano music because everything Chopin composed included piano. No operas, no symphonies, no string quartets. A masterful composer for sure.

Apr. 05 2010 09:18 PM
esther magid from Staten Island, New York

Was Chopin so deserving of attention in his era due to the exoticism of his compositons, i.e. the Polish essence found in his music or was it his technique? would we call him a master of the piano or a master of composition? Why is it we only hear his music in piano? Thanks for all the Chopin. What is the name of the c.d. of the collection of different pianists that was on the other day?

Apr. 05 2010 09:01 PM

Emily - regarding J.S. Bach, this issue has come up several times. Please read the thread under the blog "Father's Footsteps" and write back often.


Mar. 23 2010 10:39 PM
Emily Mikulewicz

His name is JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH, maybe the greatest composer ever. Give him a little respect and don't shorten his name and call him Sebastian as if he's an old pal. He outranks us all; at least give him the honor of his full name.

Mar. 23 2010 10:22 PM
mercedes Head

Hi Terrance,
I am french and I keep my french identity by cooking and eating French cuisine (and having delicoius French pastries for dessert) everyday. All the different dishes and flavors remind me of so many good moments with my family and my friends who are over there! I also read in French and we speak French at home.

Mar. 22 2010 09:20 PM
Mihaly Mezei from NYC

Having Hungarian as my mother tongue, I was impressed the other day how well you pronounced the name of Zoltan Kodaly. However, when you talked about Bela Bartok, to 'o was too short - it should be somewhat like the 'o' in 'oak'.

Mar. 11 2010 05:47 PM

Gorecki, Slavic, the ck is pronounced tsk, so it sounds like Goretsky. So, David Garland (WNYC), about 15 years ago, who when I asked about it, sent me a page from a dictionary of Slavic pronunciations.

Mar. 10 2010 11:02 PM
Mike Waters from Bay Head, NJ

Mr. McKnight, that Goreski was really moving. Some parts of it sounded vaguely familiar. I was shocked when you reported that Mr. Goreski is still alive and producing music. Funny how things happen - I'm sitting here grading mid-term exams from Western Civ II. Students writing about classical and romantic periods, nationalism and emotion, etc. That music is really emotional. Thanks for playing it.

Mar. 10 2010 09:09 PM
Amy Johnson from Jersey City, NJ

Thanks so much, Terrance!

Mar. 10 2010 04:19 PM

Amy - The disc with Barber singing and playing piano is on the Bridge record label. It's Bridge 9156. thanks for listening.

Mar. 09 2010 10:13 PM
Amy Johnson from Jersey City, NJ

Didn't know where else to ask:

Barber singing (and playing) Shubert tonight (March 9)--Fascinating track--is there more? Is Barber as vocalist available anywhere on D? What's the source of the recording you played? Is there any recording of him singing his own songs?

Many thanks.

Mar. 09 2010 08:35 PM
Phyllis Sharpe from Teaneck, NJ

I don't think this was not on the air during you time. It was about 6:50 p.m. today. The Carmen Habenera was played sung by soprano Maria Callas. It was terrible! Why not Victoria de los Angeles, which I heard a few weeks ago on WQXR and it was so good! But perhaps she is not American enough. But most of all why not Marian Anderson, or is she not classical enough? I was offended by the lack of good selection.

Mar. 05 2010 07:12 PM
Frank Feldman

I think if it's a matter of self-conscious "choice", Terence, the result is likely to be artistically less than satisfactory. In Chopin's case it was a mixture of homesickness and pride, not a self-conscious "choice."

Mar. 02 2010 09:13 PM
Kenneth Nakdimen

I enjoy the music and commentary, but your microphone should be improved. It gives your voice an exaggerated distorted bass undercurrent. I don't know whether it's the microphone or someone thinks that intentionally boosting the bass will give a more pleasant tone. But it detracts from listening pleasure and cheapens the effect. Otherwise, as I said, I like the music and commentary.

Mar. 01 2010 08:20 PM

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