Those of you who have been following this blog since its timid beginning in 2015 know that I always had a crush on the German pianist Alice Sara Ott. Early this year she posted a personal message on social networks: She has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. “It’s going to take me a while to get to know this condition and how I will manage it for myself”, she wrote. Now I let that sink in: A pianist confronts the fact that she has an uncurable disease of the central nervous system. Modern medecine and physiotherapy can keep the body working but only to a certain degree.
I always admired Alice for her talent as a pianist. I admire her now even more for her courage to take up the challenge and continue her career. Fatum. Alice loves Tchaikovsky and Tchaikovsky was obsessed by fate and his “illness” i.e. homosexuality. Fate. A year ago, the souvenir of a holiday in Brittany made me reflect my own fate. It was a wonderful souvenir of a majestic coastline with me walking along the cliffs, overwhelmed by the smell of the sea, the bright colours of the sea, the sky, the vegetation. I sat in the sun and pondered my merit in being able to live such moments of joy, reflecting my moral obligation to be humble.
In 2010 Alice released a recording of Frédéric Chopin’s Complete Waltzes. Chopin – a Polish composer left stateless in Paris after Russia had crushed a Polish uprising in 1830 and absorbed what had been left of Poland. Chopin became an exilee – a blow to the patriotic man and a chance. From Paris he conquered the world as a pianist and a composer. Fate had struck again. Chopin started writing the first waltz in 1824 at the age of 14 and continued to write waltzes until the year of his death, 1849.
Chopin then, played by Alice. Alice the pianist who does not look back and lament, but looks forward instead and will use her talent and resolve, her energy and her kindness to thrill the audience. Here is to you, Alice!
© Charles Thibo