Between 1825 and 1847, Chopin, the great composer of the Romantic era, wrote around 20 waltzes, but only 17 were included in the Paderewski edition of his complete works. The updated version of 1965 added two forgotten pieces, E-flat major and A minor, thus forming the 19 Chopin waltzes currently known to the world. As composer Robert Schumann, a contemporary of Chopin, commented, “these are waltzes for the soul, not the body”.
Chopin innovatively incorporated the operatic element of “ornaments” into his waltzes, creating an expressiveness akin to that of a “coloratura” and subtly adding dynamics to his melodies. Waltzes like the brilliant and emotionally charged A minor Op. 34 No. 2 and C-sharp minor Op. 64 No. 2 are brimming with the elegance and glory of Paris’s nineteenth art salons. Chopin redefined how pedals were deployed to reach new heights in piano performance. In Chopin’s music, precision translates to exquisiteness, and the use of the pedals alongside each beat brings different, unique effects to the entire musical atmosphere of each piece. The more sensitive the audience is to the music, the more they can appreciate the beauty and subtleness of these different styles.
In 2006, Wu Muye impressed the most discerning of European audiences by performing two of the most demanding pieces in the world of piano performance, Transcendental Étude No. 4 “Mazeppa” and Après une lecture du Dante Fantasia quasi Sonata, in Paris. After thirteen years of training and personal growth, transcending the most difficult of pieces to present them as the most beautiful, Wu reflects that “only when skills and the body are merged into one, would it be possible for the performer to capture the quintessence of each piece with its true spirit and grace, and to break through the restraints of varying structures and rules”.
The way Wu Muye performs Chopin’s music does not just express a glimmer of nineteenth century Paris, but also the continued power of Romanticism in the contemporary world. With his world tour, Wu hopes to take audiences to the lavish French art salons of the past, and transport minds into the world of Romanticism.
On the evening of August 30, 2020, UCCA Center for Contemporary Art will host a special event featuring evening tours of current exhibition “Meditations in an Emergency” followed by a special piano recital of Chopin’s complete waltzes by Wu Muye. The pianist premiered this program at the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing in December 2019, where it was met with wide acclaim. In the context of the ongoing pandemic, Wu hopes that the audience can find solace in the rich emotions that Chopin captured in his compositions, while also experiencing the reflectiveness encouraged by the exhibition.
August 30, 2020
UCCA Great Hall, Atrium
19:45-20:30 “Meditations in an Emergency” Guided Exhibition Tour
20:30-22:00 Piano Recital
22:00-22:30 “Elizabeth Peyton: Practice“, Reception
* Refreshments will be available throughout the event.
* Dresscode: Formal.
Setpember 5, 2020
1. Vivo E♭ major Opus 18
2. Tempo di Valse E major Oeuvre posthume
3. A♭ major Oeuvre posthume
4. E♭ major Oeuvre posthume
5. Lento Tempo di Valse A♭ major Op. 69 No. 1
6. Moderato B minor Op. 69 No. 2
7. Vivace E minor Oeuvre posthume
8. Allegretto A minor Oeuvre posthume
9. Vivace A♭ major Opus 34 No. 1
10. Lento A minor Opus 34 No. 2
11. Vivace F major Opus 34 No. 3
12. Molto vivace G♭ major Op. 70 No. 1
13. Tempo giusto F minor Op. 70 No. 2
14. Moderato D♭ major Op. 70 No. 3
15. Sostenuto E♭ major Oeuvre posthume
16. Molto vivace D♭ major Opus 64 No. 1
17. Tempo giusto C♯ minor Opus 64 No. 2
18. Moderato A♭ major Opus 64 No. 3
19. Leggiero A major Opus 42
Wu Muye is a renowned Chinese pianist whose exceptional piano talent was discovered at a young age. He studied at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris under the tutelage of Jacques Rouvier, a true virtuoso. He has received praise from publications including La Monde, and won a number of important international awards, including recognition as an exemplary piano player from the French Ministry of Culture.