Chopin Waltz in B Minor Amplified

After her mother died, the pianist Catherine Shefski decided to relearn and record, for reasons she did not quite understand, the Chopin Waltz in B minor.

by | Feb 4, 2013

Piano keys up close
Photo by Frank Schramm.

The Chopin Waltz in B Minor (Opus 69 No. 2) is one of Chopin’s early works, although it was not published until after his death. It is also one of the pieces that Chopin wanted burned after he died, but luckily for all of us, the score survived. This waltz shifts moods between the melancholy B minor and the brighter B major. As with any other piece by Chopin, I’d suggest the pianist sing the melody first to find the phrasing, dynamics, and interpretation.

Catherine Shefski’s Recording of the Chopin Waltz in B Minor for the Go Play Project

Two weeks after my mother died in September 2012, I decided on this music for my Go Play Project, for which I was recording one piece of classical piano music a week throughout the year. I chose the waltz because it was easy, and I’d played it many times as a teen. It wasn’t necessary to practice it much before recording.

That Sunday evening, as I first practiced and then recorded the waltz, every note seemed to me to be full of memories and meaning. I noticed a heightened sense of awareness while I was recording, a sense of being present and engaged in the moment. Perhaps that was because I hadn’t played the piece in a few years, or maybe it was because I was in a fragile emotional state. I’m not exactly sure.

But I do know that sense of awareness, of being fully present, has been my main goal during my practice sessions ever since. I’m sure I’ll associate that particular waltz with my mother from now on.

Guest Writer Catherine Shefski lives in Scranton, Pennsylvania, where she teaches piano to all ages and also hosts concerts. She is the author of Go Play, an ebook designed for piano teachers on how to motivate the current generation of children to practice. Her Go Play Project recordings may be found on SoundCloud.
The Joy of Chopin
look inside
The Joy of Chopin
(Piano Solo). By Frederic Chopin (1810-1849). Edited by Denes Agay. For Piano. Yorktown. Romantic. Softcover. 80 pages. Yorktown Music Press #YK20998. Published by Yorktown Music Press (HL.14001232)…more info


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