I wish I could throw off the thoughts which poison my happiness, and yet I take a kind of pleasure in indulging them.
– Frédéric Chopin
My favourite composer is Chopin. He was born in 1810 in Duchy of Warsaw. He went to live in Paris in 1831 and never returned to Poland. He died when he was only 39 years of age in Paris. He had always been very delicate in health during his whole life, mainly suffering from respiratory problems and also from some kinds of hallucinations it seems. His health problems did affect his life with despair. Not returning to Poland filled him with melancholy. He never intended to compose music in a “commercial” manner, but all the opposite, he wanted to reflect the soul and heart of man.
All of this was clearly reflected in his music.
My favourite haunting Chopin piece that I have intensively studied and played is Nocturne Opus 27 No. 1. You can listen to it here played by Valentina Lisitsa. I hope you enjoy it. I played it a few years ago and I admit my fingers have forgotten how to do it properly – I’d need a few days to restudy it – but its haunting melody never fails to move me.
When I play a piece, one that I want to really study well and transmit the sensations the best I can, not only do I study the notes, I also study the composer, the time and the meaning behind the piece. I really try to put my heart into trying to transmit the sensations it gives me. I believe it is the best way to render honour to the composer.
In the case of this nocturne, I couldn’t read that Chopin had intended a clear story behind it, but when I played this, I would evoke images of a tragic love, a dark beach at night, a passionate quarrel, death, suicide (this is at minute 3:10 in the video), and then tragically life has to trudge on…
You can imagine how draining practicing this nocturne was mentally and also physically (the middle part was very demanding). Whatever the case, until now it is my favourite haunting piece I’ve played. I have a few more in mind to do, but I still need to find the time and a improve myself a bit more to be able to reach out to the challenge.
Thanks to Halloween, last night we opened a couple of pumpkins, so do expect at least one more pumpkin recipe soon.
Last year I made my first pumpkin pie. We enjoyed it but there was an excess of pie filling and I wasn’t very comfortable with the making of the pie crust. This time I adjusted my pie filling proportions. The quantity was perfect. We think the taste was too. With regards to the pie crust, I followed the instructions for everyday flaky dough from the recipe book Huckleberry. Even though I didn’t manage to master the art of making it look like a work of art, this pie crust was great and received a big thumbs up from Mr. H.
Huckleberry specifies two ways of preparing the dough for the crust: with or without a food processor. I choose the method without, because the crust I made last year was using a food processor and I didn’t like making it that way.
Ingredients for the pie crust:
2 cups flour, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 2/4 teaspoon salt, 220g cold unsalted butter, 1/4 cup water
Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Stir. Add the butter and work with fingertips until you get pea sized shapes. Add the water and toss lightly. Put the dough onto a clean surface. Knead the dough but do not overwork it.
Press into a ball and put it in the fridge for one hour. It can also be kept in the freezer for up to one month.
Remove from the fridge and shape into a round form and settle it into the pie dish.
Ingredients for the pie filling:
2 cups pumpkin pulp, 1/2 cup cream, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon grated cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger, 2 eggs
Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
Put all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Mix with a blender until it becomes a homogenous liquid.
Pour into the pie dish on top of the pie crust.
Bake for 45 minutes.
Thank you for reading!