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.