[이은진의 ‘에스파냐 이야기’] (21) Mallorca: Chopin and Sand

[이은진의 ‘에스파냐 이야기’] (21) Mallorca: Chopin and Sand


Spain, a country far and near

Spain is a traditionally friendly country in Europe that is celebrating the 73rd anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties with Korea this year. In the past, it was known only as a country of bullfighting and soccer, but recently it has become a major European tourist destination frequently visited by Koreans. It is emerging as a country of major interest, with not only tourism but also economic and cultural exchanges between the two countries becoming more active.

Eunjin Lee’s ‘Spanish Story’ series introduces the history and culture of Spain, a fusion of Celtic, Roman, and Islamic cultures.

Mallorca Cathedral. You can feel the greatness of God and the solemnity of the architectural space. Provided by the author

Have you ever seen a transparent sea where white boats appear to be floating in the air? This is a scene that appears on postcards or computer wallpapers. To see it in person, you can go to Mallorca Island. It is about twice the size of Jeju Island. There are more than 300 sunny days a year, and because it is warm, many Europeans go there for recreation. These days, it is becoming a popular honeymoon destination for Koreans.

In Mallorca, there is a story about a musician we are familiar with. Polish composer Chopin.

As you walk through downtown Palma de Mallorca, the warm yellow houses and the small atelier-style courtyards within them are impressive. Provided by the author

Chopin stayed with his lover George Sand in Valldemossa, a small town at the foot of a mountain 18km from downtown Mallorca, for several months from the winter of 1838 to early the following year. In a letter he wrote to his friend Fontana, he describes the beautiful nature of Mallorca as follows:

“Dear friend! The sky is turquoise, the sea blue, the mountains are emerald green, and the air is as blue as the sky. The sun shines all day and people dress like summer. At night you can hear guitar playing and singing for long hours. “Everything here reminds me of Africa.”

Frédéric Chopin. Delacroix, 1838 Ⓒ Collection of the Louvre Museum

While staying at the monastery in Valldemossa, Chopin composed 24 preludes and Polonaise in C minor, op. He composed several songs, including 40. Among the 24 preludes, number 15, known as ‘Raindrops’, is the most famous. It is said that Chopin composed it while waiting for Sand in the heavy rain. The regularly repeated sounds of the left hand on the keyboard are reminiscent of falling raindrops. In 2015, Cho Seong-jin became the first Korean to perform these preludes while winning the Chopin International Piano Competition.

Georges Sand. Delacroix, 1834 Ⓒ Collection of the National Delacroix Museum

His lover, Georges Sand, also wrote an autobiographical travel novel, ‘Winter in Mallorca’, containing his travel experience to Mallorca. In this novel, Sand details his trip to and stay in Mallorca to escape the cold European winter and treat Chopin’s lung disease.

The Pleyel piano used by Chopin for composition and his head Ⓒ Museum Celda de Frédéric Chopin y George Sand

In order to find traces of the two people, they go to the museum set up at the Valldemossa Monastery. When I enter room number 4, where Chopin and Sand lived, there is no trace of the two people anywhere, and only his piano is left there. I feel the artistic spirit of these two people along with the transience of time. Here, a piano festival has been held since 1930 to honor Chopin and Sand, who passed away. I mainly play Chopin’s works. Even if people leave, art remains.

Eunjin Lee, Spanish expert and cultural columnist

Reporter Park Tae-hae

[ⓒ 세계일보 & Segye.com, 무단전재 및 재배포 금지]

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This news article has been translated from the original language to English by WorldsNewsNow.com.

You can visit the original source at the link below.



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