From Valentina: “I went through love-hate “relationship” with this Nocturne. When I was asked by Lanaudiere Fesitval to select 7 Nocturnes for the concert ( I never played any before – to my utter shame ) I had to quickly flip through the sheet music and pick ones I thought I might stand 🙂 This one was number “last” on my list of things to do. I didn’t start learning it until it was almost too late ( those who watched my webcast of practice can confirm :-)). I dreaded the moment when I will get sick and tired of this sweetest thing ever written with its gorgeous but repetitious melody….
Then I had my “eureka” moment . it happened when I started looking at Chopin’s metronome markings – in all other Nocturnes they were perfectly in sync with today’s consensus – maybe little faster here , slower there… But this one – oh my God ! Lento Sostenuto marked as 50 beats per minute in half-measure ( 150BPM in eights ). You know how fast is it ???? Check-it out and see if you can keep up with Mr. Chopin LOL ….. i can’t , I still play it waaaaaay under tempo .Let’s see how many “critics” will leave comments saying it is too fast …..But , no matter what it makes a perfect sense- and suddenly my dread turned into astonishment at Chopin’s genius.The whole piece is suddenly transformed from overly long sugary-syrupy chant to an exalted and impassioned speech- you make whatever you want of this speech , maybe it is a declaration of love ? after all – the piece ends with the most beautiful duet of two voices….”