The ‘Raindrop’ Prelude : As the storm raged around him, raindrops fell like music on the pianist’s heart.
The ‘Raindrop’ Prelude

Translated from the original French of Histoire de ma Vie Book III, Volume 13: Part IV, Chapter 16.

In 1838, Chopin and Georges Sand (a lady whose real name was Amantine-Lucile-Aurore Dupin) stayed at a Carthusian monastery in Valldemossa, Mallorca. While seated at the piano during a storm, Sand tells us, Chopin experienced a disturbing dream.

HE saw himself drowned in a lake; heavy, icy drops of water fell rhythmically upon his breast, and when I made him listen to the sound of the drops of water which really were falling rhythmically on the roof, he denied ever having heard them.

He was even rather annoyed that I should have interpreted this in terms of a harmony made in imitation.

He protested in the strongest possible terms, as he had every right to do, against the childishness of these imitations intended for the ear.

His genius was full of mysterious harmonies of nature, interpreted through sublime equivalents in his musical thought, and not by a slavish reduplication of external sounds.

His composition that evening was certainly full of drops of rain ringing on the resonant tiles of the Chartreuse; but they were interpreted in his imagination and in his melody through tears falling from the sky upon his heart.

Translated from the original French of Histoire de ma Vie Book III, Volume 13: Part IV, Chapter 16.

The ‘Raindrop Prelude’

Chopin’s ‘Raindrop’ Prelude (op. 28 No. 15) in D flat major. Played by Vladimir Ashkenazy.

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Picture: © Gryffindor, Wikimedia Commons. Licence: CC-BY-SA 3.0. View original
The gardens of the Charterhouse (a Carthusian monastery) in Valldemossa, Mallorca, with the characteristic roof tiles clearly visible.
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