Chopin at Financial Center – Clarification

I’ve been feeling a little guilty about my March 1 post about the Chopin Festival at the World Financial Center.  That post was definitely written from the sour side.  (Sorry.)  The problem was that at the free concert on the first night of the five day festival (March 1 – March 5), I found it hard to get the din of the Financial Center’s diners and bar revelers out of my ears enough to fully enjoy the music.  

So, here’s my clarification.  Yes, there is a lot of background noise in the evening concerts at the Financial Center; the acoustics are terrible, and, yes, if you are an imaginative person, you may well feel barraged by brutish and uncaring-for-Chopin commerce.  Nonetheless, the festival is magical, what with (i) well, the Chopin, (ii) the unflappable pianists, and (iii) the fact that free live music is going on all day long from 9 a.m. to about 8:30 p.m. every single day this week.  Perhaps the nicest part, in fact, is not the highlighted evening Chopin concert (which has increasingly famous pianists performing as the week progresses) but the pianists scattered about the different parts and buildings of the Financial Center’s public spaces.  Several grand pianos at once, each next to six or seven dark folding chairs, each playing different unamplified Chopin piece, Nocturne, Etude, Mazurka. 

Passers-by, primarily workers in the Center, residents from the neighborhood, tourists from Ground Zero, are really pretty considerate;  a hush that only slightly buzzes attends the running brooklike notes.  It’s sort of the opposite of elevator music, and though there is sometimes no one sitting in the folding chairs, the entire space seems to be uplifted.

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