On whistling wings, and with white flakes bestrew
|The Road to Giverny, Winter |
Claude Monet, Oil on canvas, 1885
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!