Can a single instrument unlock the DNA of Romantic music? A small, craftsman’s pianino, built in Majorca in the 1830s, gives it a good try: it’s the keyboard on which Chopin completed his Preludes. This exquisite collection reclaimed an intimacy that had been drowned out by the excesses of Chopin’s brilliant peers. It would take 50 years, but these miniatures would eventually outflank and outrank many of the century’s hulking musical monuments.
If this were not enough, Chopin’s piano took on talismanic qualities in the following century. The cast of characters obsessed with its provenance, heritage and symbolism – from harpsichordist Wanda Landowska to Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels – completes this miraculous story.
In this captivating staging by Richard Pyros – first filmed and streamed in 2021 – and with the complete Preludes as its backbone, pianist Aura Go and actor Jennifer Vuletic tell the story of this singular instrument, the works composed on it and the artist who created them, and the changing value of music over time.
"With stabbing accents, shimmering textures and lute-like tremolos, Go commanded a mood at once vast and intimate with deft control and sensitivity"
"Vuletic is mesmerising, compelling, unabashed and bravely present in each of her outstanding portrayals"