Nestling amongst the tracks from the film 127 Hours lies a curiosity. Ashkenazy – Nocturne No 2 says the playlist. It is, of course, Nocturne Op 9 No 2 by Chopin, and although the performance on the purchased soundtrack may be by Ashkenazy, the performance on the film most decidedly is not.
It’s in a scene where Aron Ralston’s younger sister is seated at the family’s upright piano, getting through the piece in fits and starts to the accompaniment of encouraging comments from her parents sitting on the sofa, while Aron films her. Of course, it is a flashback – Aron is stuck in a place he won’t be leaving in a hurry.
It would catch any pianist’s attention, even when hummed by someone near Chopin’s grave in Paris, but principally it’s an interesting choice. Why this piece? Not Beethoven’s Für Elise or Mozart’s Sonata in C, for example: two other ‘classical’ pieces associated with young learners. Not a pop song. A Chopin Nocturne.
I don’t know why it was chosen, but in a soundtrack which is largely pop oriented, this work-in-progress performance provides a brief, almost incongruous moment of musical contrast and peace in a riveting film. Well worth seeing – but not for the squeamish.
Here is Rubinstein playing it –