But not any more. Ivan Hewett describes how he belatedly woke up to the ‘tender poet’ of the piano.
The flood of Chopin performances and recordings launched by the 200th anniversary of the composer’s birth shows no sign of abating. In the next few weeks Alexander Tharaud, Leon McCawley and Louis Lortie are all giving Chopin concerts, to name just three. As for the recording industry, it’s thrown caution to the wind. In recent weeks there have been new releases from Nikolai Lugansky, Stephen Hough, Nelson Freire, Yundi. The list is endless.
But Chopin hasn’t always swept away those before him. Even now many people feel a deep resistance to him and for years I did, too. When I was just starting to explore classical music I naturally gave Chopin a try and had an instant aversion to him. Those melting runs and arabesques made me feel physically sick, and I instantly translated this “yuck” sensation into a moral judgment.