The first time I properly heard Chopin was when I was given a casette tape (yes) of the pianist’s ethereal Nocturnes, those will-o’-the-wisps of night music, evanescent and evasive, quite out of one’s grasp if one were only a recreational piano player.
I used to pop the tape into my mini-compo (yes), and those dancing phrases and steps would pirouette in and around my room as I collapsed on the bed, head towards the floor, reading, writing, thinking, dreaming. Those were quiet Saturday afternoons in my childhood home off Holland Road.
The fragile notes, the well-intentioned pauses, remind me sometimes of the thoughts of a poet-friend, old in mind but light of foot, disciplined and imbued with a sensitivity beyond measure.
I am moved by fancies that are curled
Around these images, and cling:
The notion of some infinitely gentle
Infinitely suffering thing. TS Eliot, Preludes