CREATING A NARRATIVE MOOD
Chopin(1810-1849) composed in obedience to inner promptings, dictated by his own musical instincts, tastes, feelings and predispositions. His first composition was in 1817, the year of the birth of the Founder of the Baha’i Faith. Chopin infused new ideas into known forms. The Ballade, for example, which had formerly been a vocalized poem, he cast into an instrumental mold. This afternoon, February 15th 2006, I have been listening to Chopin’s Ballade in G Minor Op. 23. Its opening phrase creates a narrative mood, a mood which is forever changing and a mood which the Polish-born pianist Arthur Rubenstein defined as epic grandiosity in 1959. (1)
Written at some time in the years 1831 to 1835, this Ballade may have had its origins in a particular aspect of the world of the spirit. For where does a melody and music come from to/in the mind of a genius like Chopin? Perhaps Chopin was moved by elements in a musical ether at the time he fell in love with the 17 year old Maria and as his star of celebrity was rising in the early 1830s. Perhaps some virtue of a grace was exercising an influence on his soul as an approaching narrative was to be played on the stage of Iran’s religious history. One can hypothesize endlessly or not at all as the case may be.
The episode of the narrative I am thinking of was one in which Siyyid Kazim met the Bab in Karbila and in a chamber bedecked by flowers and redolent of the loveliest perfume. The Bab gave him a pure beveridge which Siyyid Kazim, we are told, drank from a silver cup.2 The last stages of the preface to the narrative of Babi and Baha’i history was being enacted. –Ron Price with thanks to 1“Internet Sites on Chopin and Chopin’s Ballades,” Pioneering Over Four Epochs, February 15th 2006; and 2Muhammad-i-Zarandi, Nabil’s Narrative, Baha’i Publishing Trust, Wilmette, 1974(1932), p.26.
This narrative mood set upon me
for many a year in obedience to
inner promptings, dictated by
my literary and experiential
instincts, tastes, feelings and
predispositions as they changed
and flowed with an epic grandiosity
as if Arthur Rubenstein himself had
set the stage back in ’59 when some(1)
mysterious dispensation of a watchful
Providence scattered abroad fragrances
uttered elsewhere and exercised some
influence on my soul as I played
baseball, hockey and football,
studied grade ten subjects and
fell in love with Susan Gregory
and half a dozen other girls.
1 Arthur Rubenstein was the first to record Chopin in stereo in 1959. He interpreted Chopin in the context of an epic grandiosity so writes Mark Jordan in “Burkard Schliessmann- Chopin: Ballades,” High Fidelity Review.com.
February 15th 2006.