Pianist Haley Myles introduces her new album of the complete Nocturnes of Fryderyk Chopin
Chopin – and more specifically his Nocturnes – is the reason why I decided to become a classical pianist professionally.
I was fifteen when I first heard Yundi Li playing Op. 9 No. 1 (in B-flat minor). Upon listening, I had the feeling ‘this is what it means to fall in love’. Even though I couldn’t play a scale, I was determined to pursue classical piano, and here I am today.
As all of my concerts in 2020 were postponed, I decided to focus on expanding my repertoire. I delved deeply into concerti and explored musical languages that I wasn’t as familiar with, including works by Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Rachmaninov, Ligeti, and others.
Perhaps after widening my musical language, I felt a pull to return to the reason why I began playing the piano. When I first began the Chopin Nocturne Project in February, I was determined to post a full-length video of a nocturne each Friday. After about eight weeks, I was inspired to record these nocturnes professionally and include them on an album. With the help of generous donations from my followers and supporters, I was able to record and produce this album. On the 5th of May, I was at the piano for ten hours while I recorded the complete set. With the exception of a trill and a chord, I recorded everything in one day, and after two days of editing, this album is the result. This is the first album that I recorded at home on my Steinway M and produced myself.
Op. 48 No. 1 (from Chopin Nocturne Project):
On my album, I decided to include the two posthumous nocturnes which aren’t often heard in other sets of Chopin Nocturnes. These posthumous works have a charm of their own and I strongly feel that they deserve to be heard.
Music has a special ability to connect and heal. Chopin’s music, even in its most despondent moments, always maintains elements of hope and pride. I think this is a message that we all need to feel, especially after such a difficult time as this pandemic. It is my motivation and hope that, through my interpretations, I can give my listeners a moment of peace.
All I could do was sit in wonder at her musical insights and truthfulness, as though a veil had been lifted between player and listener. Haley goes between and behind the notes to discover the essence of their original interpretation, with countless subtle musical intakes of breath, as if she was discovering the music’s special qualities for the first time. – Julian Haylock (former editor of International Piano)
I really admire the intensity and full-bodiedness of Haley’s playing and her sense of timing. – Jed Distler (pianist, writer, composer, and WWFM host):
About the album:
Inspired by the intimate salon aesthetic prevalent in Chopin’s time, Haley recorded and produced the album on her Steinway and Sons M at her home in Lyon, France.
‘The Complete Nocturnes’ is a natural extension of her Chopin Nocturne Project, where Haley undertook the challenge of recording and releasing a new nocturne each Friday from February until June 2021 until completing the set. As a result of delving deeply into these works, Haley recorded the album in three days.
Interpreting each nocturne as a story, Haley invites her listeners on an inward journey. Her natural sense of rubato, attention to nuances, and extended phrasing create heartfelt interpretations from beginning to end.
The Complete Nocturnes is released on 2nd July 2021
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