Though Frederic Chopin's music was never about romance per se, he is considered one of the most distinctive voices of the Romantic Era, an artistic movement characterized by the mining of emotional extremes.
Chopin's work is featured Tuesday in a Valentine's Day concert at the Toledo Museum of Art Peristyle where the versatile Brazilian pianist Arnaldo Cohen performs sets of ballads and scherzi.
Nineteenth-century musical innovators came in a swath of flavors. At one end was the Hungarian pianist/composer Franz Liszt who drove into the keyboard as if offering up a hail of bullets. When Liszt performed, men were transfixed, women swooned.
The ever-elegant Paris-based Warsaw native Chopin occupied the opposite reaches of the spectrum.
Delicate of constitution and emotionally fragile, Chopin found it debilitating to perform for an anonymous public. Private musical soirees were his strength. For him, the essence of music-making was inwardly emotional, the delicate sharing of fairy-dust moods among the intimacy of friends.
Cohen has built his career by embracing the full range of Romanticism, the outwardly muscular and the inwardly elegant. In the past couple years he has recorded a pair of CDs featuring Liszt's exuberant music.
In Tuesday's concert at the Peristyle, he presents the other side.
Cohen recently moved to the United States to take up a teaching position at the University of Indiana. Cohen's career was previously centered in Europe. He lived in London for 23 years.
Pianist Arnaldo Cohen plays Chopin ballads and scherzi at 8 p.m. Tuesday in the Toledo Museum of Art Peristyle. Tickets range from $22 to $45. Information: 419-246-8000.
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