10/9/10

Warsaw: Concert At The Park


Fantasie Impromptu, one of Chopin's famous works  
(video taken with my little Lumix DMC-FP1)

It's Frederyk Chopin's 200th birthday this year and all of Poland is throwing a yearlong birthday bash. In honor of his great contribution to music, concerts, exhibitions and competitions were held everywhere. We decided on our last day to see for ourselves one such event - held every Sunday from May to September at the Chopin Memorial in Lazienki Park. From Jerozolimskie, we started walking but realized the park is way further than we thought so we hopped on a tram with our unlimited passes. At the park entrance, we could tell where the exact venue was just by following the throng of people walking in the same direction. Chopin, and not Lady Gaga,  apparently have more fans here.

Frederyk Chopin was a child prodigy whose hands worked wonders on the piano. While he was born close to Warsaw and grow up as a kid in the city, much of his later life was spent in Paris, France where he continued composing music, teaching piano and hobnobbing with fellow artists. His genius as a romantic composer soared to greater heights even while his health faltered, eventually succumbing to tuberculosis at a young age of 39. Before he died, he willed that his heart be brought back to Poland - which now rests in one of the pillars of Warsaw's Church of the Holy Cross.

A Chopin poster outside Lazienki Park
A local musician plays the violin hoping to get attention - and some donation
Chopin's bronze statue, erected in 1926, was destroyed by the Nazis during WWII.
The original mold fortunately survived the war. A replica was cast & erected in 1958.
Fans of classical music being treated to a Chopin piano recital on a pleasant Sunday afternoon
What better way to listen to Chopin's music than being surrounded by a riot of blooming flowers?
Chopin's piano compositions are technically demanding 
- fingers literally fly on the keyboards!
Leafy 76-hectare Lazienki park is huge but perfect for an afternoon stroll after the concert
We walked past The Little White House where the mistress of a Polish king once lived. 
An exiled Louis XVIII of France also sought refuge here.
The Lazienki Palace (also called the Palace on the Water) was the summer royal residence 
of King Stanislaw Poniatowski, Poland's last ruling monarch. 
It's a long way home from here.

19 comments:

  1. Beautiful parks and gardens... it must have been magical to listen to Chopin's music in such an open air location.

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  2. Oh I miss playing Chopin. I almost ended up as a music major in undergrad, and played the piano from when I was in middle school. I remember playing his nocturnes and mazurkas a lot, although his preludes were my favorite. The Fantasie-Impromptu however, was a pain, because the left hand had to play 3 notes per beat, while the right hand had to play 4 notes per beat, in a fast tempo.

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  3. i really hope that we get have parks as beautiful as this though the closest would be greenbelt park in makati but the idea of an open space with naturally beautiful environment.

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  4. Wow, that's interesting to know about Chopin, one of the better known artists of his time.

    It's so great to know a lot of people still enjoy this kind of music. Here in the Philippines, I'm sure only a handful of people would come. We don't even see musicians on the streets asking for donations.

    Amazing place and amazing photos!

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  5. Sidney,
    It surely was. Chopin is one of my favorite classical composers.

    Linguist,
    Wow, you studied music and played Chopin! Impressed. I'm not a pianist but just listening to Fantasie Impromptu already gave me a sense how difficult it is - a "pain" as you pointed out.

    Dong,
    Pockets of green parks at least, even if there's no more huge parks like Luneta, would give Manila a great makeover.

    HalfCrazy,
    I remember watching a free concert by the Manila Philharmonic at the Luneta many years ago. I'm not sure if that is still done very Sundays.

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  6. beautiful music + fantastic park = what more can you ask for?

    ps : i dream of learning to play the violin someday.

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  7. I'm not much of a Chopin more of Tchaikovsky, but I do listen to a lot of classical music - except lately because I listen to a lot of talk radio - the SF Giants are in the postseason!

    The garden is huge isn't it? Who wouldn't be glad to have classical music in a setting like that.

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  8. i used to listen to Chopin's Nocturnes when i couldn't sleep, and one of my nephews would ask his mother to play nocturnes during bedtime.

    this is a beautiful park--the flowers and trees are gorgeous! impressive statue, too.

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  9. When I was in college my buddies tagged me as a "barbarian" because I refused to join their frat or any frats for that matter. Now, I think I am a "barbarian" for a different reason - my ears hurt when my wife plays the piano at home with all those classical "nonsense" (Don't let my wife know or I am dead meat LOL).

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  10. sarap ng tipa ng piano...malalim! sumasayaw sa hangin!

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  11. The Chopin's bronze statue is beautiful. Tall trees in the city park? Wow! The last time I heard the piano being played beside me was at the hospital lobby last week. Like all the photos.

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  12. woooo---""What better way to listen to Chopin's music than being surrounded by a riot of blooming flowers?""

    I am such a melodramatic-hopeless romantic person that such setting would really melt me.

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  13. Docgelo,
    I'm with you on that one - no one's too old to learn something new.

    Photo Cache,
    At work, I play internet radio tuned on to classical music, just the soothing music I need on a typical hectic day.

    Luna Miranda,
    oh yes, Lazienki is one of the prettiest parks I've visited. Would have wanted to explore it more if only we didn't ran out of time.

    Bert,
    c'mon Bert, classical is never "non-sense" :-) I do listen to pop/techno music a lot on my Ipod but when I want to unwind, I go classical. don't worry, your wife's not gonna know lol!

    Pamatayhomesick,
    talaga! mahirap pa naman yung piyesa na yun.

    Lito,
    Piano being played in a hospital lobby? saucy naman!!! thanks for dropping by.

    Pusang kalye,
    naks naman! but I admit, the setting was too romantic with all those flowers and the music was so apt!

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  14. what a nice park :) so many flowers :) i like!! looks like a mini forest :p

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  15. what a way to spend a lazy afternoon listening to good music along with the blooming flowers. parang fairytale!

    and too bad lady gaga got only a few fans there.. =)

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  16. whoa! ang daming tao sa park! i love the last photo! sarap umupo sa bench while writing sa journal or reading a book. :)

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  17. Fufu,
    yup, flowers abloom made the park really pretty.

    Chyng,
    I think the younger generation of Poles in Warsaw are more into pop music pero lahat sila hanga pa rin kay Chopin.

    Priness Dyanie,
    nakakapagod din ang maglakad kaya the bench was a welcome relief. buti na lang marami all over the park.

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  18. What a beautiful place, Denz! I will ignore my allergies (will take tons of Zyrtec and Singulair and bring my rescue inhaler) but I will be in the park among the flowers enjoying Chopin's music!

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  19. Gwen,
    Lazienki park is really pretty that even those with allergies will fall under its spell. Chopin's music though is played seasonally - only in summer.

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