Monday, January 17, 2011

Study on Winter Wind

"Come, ye cold winds, at January's call,
On whistling wings, and with white flakes bestrew
The earth."
John Ruskin
The Road to Giverny, Winter
Claude Monet, Oil on canvas, 1885
 I've never been fond of Brother Wind. To me he feels sort of like that annoying brother who finds pleasure in tormenting you. I'm not referring to Li'l Brother Breeze, who can brush your arm or cheek and tease you in a fun-loving way. No. Not him. I'm talking about his big brawny brother, who seems to enjoy running into me at full force and knocking the air right out of my lungs. He's hard enough to tolerate in the fall when the weather begins to agitate him, but he's downright unbearable in the winter.

I miss my outdoor walks. I've tried regularly to venture out to the park on my usual path, scarf around my neck, ear muffs securely in place, jacket hood up,  but inevitably I've had to give up and admit defeat. Occasionally it's because of snow or ice on the path, but most often it's due to the jarring wind.  Is it just my imagination that the wind is more fierce than usual this winter?

When we think of the work of Claude Monet, for most of us it brings to mind his beloved gardens at Giverny in France. Water lilies, the garden's footbridge,  mother and children at repose and on picnics...all made with the softly placed strokes of a genuis of impressionism. Most of them carry a palette of the vibrant hues of life.

Many of us forget that he lived and painted in all four seasons, and his winter scenes are just as beautiful, but carry in them the more muted hues of the season.  I especially love this piece, The Road to Giverny, Winter, where we are able to walk with the artist as he approaches his beloved gardens in  the cold and snowy "season of blues".

In studying the winter wind, I hope to achieve a more amiable coexistance with it. Brother Wind and I may not ever be the best of friends in winter, but I hope some day we can walk together and enjoy the scenery.

Today I wish you a calm Monday.

Frédéric Chopin is my favorite composer. (Get used to it.) This piece, Étude,  Opus 25, No. 11, in A minor, is a devilishly technical study composed in 1836.  Aptly named "Winter Wind Étude, it's a dynamic whirlwind filled with speed and unconventional fingering.  Only the best of the best can perform this one. It also makes me feel that I'm standing on the road to Giverny as the winter wind picks up and turns into a blizzard as we walk.

I've chosen the Russian pianist Adam Gyorgy for this presentation for two reasons; first, the camera work is excellent, giving us the requisite view of his brilliant finger work; and secondly, it gives you a lovely example of differing cultures at the end of the performance as the audience begins to applaud in unison. This is the Russian equivalent of a standing ovation, and is coveted among concert, ballet, and theater performers. Enjoy! 


  1. The wind HAS been brutal this winter! Beautiful post~ beautiful picture~ beautiful piece of music!! My love to you!

  2. Love Chopin! It will not be hard to get used to this fact.

    I agree that Brother Wind has been a BASTARD this year. What gives? Even the best cold weather clothing technology can not block the wind. Like you, I've cut my walks short. Bloody hell.

  3. Thanks, Vicki--nice to see you in the morning! Have a wonderful day whre you are. We're supposed to get rain Ugh.

  4. Hi Reya...I'm happy to know I'm not the only one experiencing this. I hope for a mid-winter break from the wind soon. Don't we usually get at least a few spring-like days around now? Please? :-)

    Thanks for checking in!

  5. Thanks. Monet didn't paint. He cast spells. Resting in the moment of studying the beauty out our back door can't be improved upon much. But if I was covered with coat and boots to accept the invitation of my woods, and the road lead to Giverny, that would be just fine by me : ).

  6. Yes, Dubby. Especially if I could see them with Monet's eyes.

    Thank you so much for stopping by.


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