Richter absolutely owns Chopin’s Nocturne in E minor op. 72 no. 1
If Classical 96.3 had been playing this today, I would have had to pull over. Possibly my favourite Nocturne.
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air….
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace.
Where never lark, or even eagle flew —
And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
– Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
Poem: “High Flight”
John Gillespie Magee, Jr. (9 June 1922 – 11 December 1941) was an American aviator and poet who died as a result of a mid-air collision over Lincolnshire during World War II. He was serving in the Royal Canadian Air Force, which he joined before the United States officially entered the war. Magee’s posthumous fame rests mainly on his sonnet “High Flight”, started on 18 August 1941, just a few months before his death. He had flown up to 33,000 feet in a Spitfire Mk I. As he orbited and climbed upward, he was struck with the inspiration of a poem — “To touch the face of God.” He completed it later that day after landing.