The Music

 

Chopin 1849

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Prelude No 15 by Chopin

The music that inspires Ada in The Housemaid’s Daughter is the Prelude no 15, by Chopin.

Composed in the winter of 1838/39 when Chopin was in his late twenties, it is an extraordinarily beautiful piece. It opens with a deceptively simple melody that deepens to a stormy, complex heart before returning to the original theme. The repeating A-flat that echoes throughout has always reminded listeners of falling raindrops - hence the popular name ‘Raindrop’ Prelude.

Franz Liszt called Chopin’s Preludes “compositions of an order entirely apart...they are poetic...analogous to those of a great contemporary poet, who cradles the soul in golden dreams”.

For Ada, the prelude becomes a metaphor for her life: simplicity and turmoil, light and shade, beauty and cruelty.

Raindrop prelude