If there is one love that never abandoned Chopin, it is the love of flowers – and the last image left by the Polish composer was that of a man sleeping peacefully among them; for “so much was brought” to his deathbed, Liszt said, “that the whole room disappeared[t] under their varied colours; it seemed to rest in a garden”. However, this floral grace both revives and refutes the cumbersome romantic legend that still continues to this day. The avive, because it often accompanies decorative beauty and sentimental impulses; the refutation, since there is a latent violence of flowers, that poets have been able to decipher.
Indeed, their beauty is not cute and classical mythology reveals that they are born of the tears, blood or flesh of those they abolish and magnify into a single and paradoxical metamorphosis. How could I not think about it, reading Schumann’s words, discovering Chopin’s music for the first time: “I saw strangely unknown eyes opening before me: eyes of flowers […]”. If Chopin’s romantic sensibility manifests itself in expressive harmony, it is nevertheless classical in its search for formal and, sometimes, even baroque balance, in its concise rhetoric. Everything moves constantly on his keyboard, but the opposites are absorbed, miraculously gathered in the body of the work itself. Flowers, music – “oh pure contradiction”: the accessibility, gratuity and elegance of both are more enigmatic than they seem to the questioner. Schumann, again: “this music is not music; it is cannons, buried under the flowers”.
Choice of piano pieces for piano solo (waltzes, polonaises, mazurkas, barcaroles, preludes & nocturnes) / F. Chopin
Promenade des Pêcheurs 10