Prelude 4, op. 28

The sound of absence and longing.

With all that I tried to suggest to students, you get a feeling of a piece… one of the most profound ones that Chopin ever wrote. It's a beloved piece. In fact, it's so beloved that it was performed at Chopin's funeral. And everything in the piece — the chromatic harmonies, and the two-note phrases, crying — it's a piece that projects deep emotion of the most intense kind, of a man who is really dying in his thirties. And it's rewarding for us to go into that area of emotional understanding.

Because you see, in the final analysis musicians are very fortunate people because, in order to interpret music properly, we have to know three major things. We have to know emotionally what the composer is trying to convey, we can't just play with our feelings; we have to understand intellectually everything on the printed page; and then the third thing is that's not sufficient: we have to make a physical connection to everything that we feel and think. And what that means is that we're working on our person, not just our talent, and that's what you take away from your practice sessions. So that everything that you learn through the discipline of music you project into everything you do in life.

Seymour Bernstein