burningdarkfire: (france)
[personal profile] burningdarkfire
Title: une chanson pour toujours - chopin 
Series: APH
Pairing: France/Canada 
Rating: PG
Length: 1000 words; chapter 3 (3/6) 
Notes: written for Springtime in Montreal for [livejournal.com profile] maplesandroses 
Prompt: France playing piano for Canada; the circumstances are up to anon, I'd prefer it to be all innocent and fluffy, but if this can strike an idea for over-than-PG-13, I don't mind. AUs of any kind are also okay, just please, no genderbending. 



iii. chopin

(1831)

“How are you?” Canada asked timidly as they sat on opposite sides of the small table with wine sparkling in front of them.

“No worse than I was half a century ago, but hardly any better.” France shrugged and took a sip, then another, tipping his head back until he drained the entire glass. “But my people’s revolutions are old news now. You, on the other hand,” France leaned forward slightly, a faint frown on his lips. “I heard what your brother did at York.”

“I returned the favor at Washington,” Canada told him, trying to brush it off.

“At war with your brother.” France shook his head disapprovingly. “That idiot has a lot to answer for.”

“It wasn’t such a big deal,” Canada muttered quietly, shifting in his seat. “I thought all nations were involved in wars.”

France laughed harshly, reaching for the bottle of wine as he did so. “I’ve been in too many to count, mon cher Mathieu, and let me tell you, it’s not something you can ever just forget and let go, not even when you’re as old as I am.”

“You’re not old,” Canada countered immediately, then flushed. What a ridiculous thing to say to a nation that had lived for nearly millennia. “Well, I mean -”

“Much older than you,” France said gently, reaching across the table to cover Canada’s hand with his own. “Now, I have a special guest here today. He only moved to Paris last year, but he’s definitely one of mine, although he still thinks himself Polish. But he’s a genius, truly, and it would be a shame if you didn’t come listen to him while he was here.”

“Another one?” Canada asked lightly, getting up to follow France. He stored away the subject of wars and old age to discuss on another day. “Europe seems to be flooding with musicians these days.”

“Romanticism,” France sighed happily, a hand fluttering in the air in some vague motion. “And of course, le Paris is at the center of it all. Sometimes, the beauty of music is all that’s needed to contest a war.”

“I think pianos are finally catching on back home,” Canada said. “The new rise in salon music is perfect for social gatherings.”

“I’ll be looking forward to what your people come up with, certainly. Austria and Germany have been dominating the European stage for far too long.”

He led Canada down the halls of his exuberant house until they reached a grand set of double doors. France reached out and opened them slowly, the hinges making barely a squeak.

“Ah, forgive me.” There was no one at the piano, where Canada had immediately looked to. Rather, a man was leaning against the wall by a small table, a thin novel in his hand. “I hope you don’t mind that I picked up this book. It’s quite interesting, although I haven’t heard the name of one of the authors yet – Jules Sand? A pen name, I suppose.”

“One of many up-and-coming writers,” France smiled, gesturing for Canada to enter the room so that he could close the doors behind them. “How are you enjoying Rose et Blanche?”

“Enough that I’m afraid I’m terribly off-track,” the man answered with a small laugh. “I’m so sorry; I’m being terribly rude. I haven’t even introduced myself to your companion yet! My name is Frédéric, Frédéric Chopin.”

Canada shook the offered hand. “Matthew Williams. I’m a friend of Francis’s from across the pond in Canada, and he told me in no uncertain terms that I had to listen to you play.”

“I’m flattered.” Chopin smiled and turned to France. “Well then, Mr. Bonnefoy, it seems like I have to thank you not only for inviting me here to your place, but also for trying to publicize a poor artist such as myself.”

“Paris welcomes you with open arms. I have no doubt you will become fantastically popular among the French in a few years.” France’s smile grew. “It doesn’t hurt that you yourself are French, of course.”

“Of course.” Chopin dipped his head to France. “I’m certainly pleased to be in my father’s birth country and home, and I have no doubt Paris has many hidden treasures I have yet to discover, in addition to the ones I’ve already found.”

France chuckled and clasped the musician on the arm. “Ah, how I’m fond of you already.”

“Before even hearing me play?” Chopin asked teasingly. “Mr. Bonnefoy, I’m afraid I’ll disappoint.”

“Impossible,” France scoffed. He gestured at the piano. “Go ahead then, and we’ll be your judges.”

Chopin sat and, with only a brief moment of silence, a waltz flowed from his fingers. As the beat hummed one-two-three, France held his hand out to Canada with a small bow. “May I have this dance?”

Canada flushed. Feeling silly, he let Francis guide him into the steps of the dance, his movements stiff and shy. The space in the room around the piano was not suited for dancing and he tripped over the same small table Chopin had been standing by earlier.

France caught him even as he bit back the startled curses. Canada quickly straightened, France’s arms still around him, and they both cast a guilty glance towards the pianist.

When it was evident Chopin hadn’t heard the crash or just didn’t care to react to it, they turned back to each other. France gave a low chuckle in Canada’s ear. “You’re blushing bright red, Mathieu.”

“S-Sorry,” Canada muttered back. His hands were hanging uselessly at his side as France hugged him.

France laughed, more loudly this time, but still the music continued uninterrupted. “You have nothing to apologize for, mon cher. You dance quite well. Who taught you?”

“England,” Canada said quietly, aware of the way France’s smile twisted at the name. “He said it was something any proper gentleman should know.”

“Of course.” Canada thought France was going to add something more, but the older nation just sighed and rested his chin on Canada’s shoulder. “When did you grow so tall, Mathieu?”

“I’m not as tall as you yet,” Canada protested faintly. “I haven’t grown that much since you last saw me, really.”

“I remember when you were still young and cute,” France murmured, swaying them from side to side as the waltz faded into a nocturne. He ignored Canada’s stutters as he continued, “And now you’re such a handsome young man and you don’t need me anymore.”

“Don’t say that,” Canada said. He wished he could see France’s face. Slowly, he brought his hands up and settled them on France’s back, bringing them even closer together. “Don’t ever think that I don’t need you or that I don’t want you there. You were my papa.”

“Were,” France repeated, pulling back slightly. Canada saw his lonely eyes and he closed his eyes as France leaned in, lips just gently brushing his forehead. “At least that’s in the past,” he whispered quietly as the final chords of the nocturne to a close.

They remained silent for a few moments before France disentangled them fully and turned his attention to the pianist with a smile. “That was wonderful.”

Chopin stood and bowed formally, a knowing look in his eyes as he straightened. “I’m glad I could be of service, Mr. Bonnefoy.”

-

A/N - I love listening to Chopin, but I'm terrible at playing anything Romantic or post-Romantic (I don't have enough feelings, orz).  In my circle of pianist friends everyone thinks I'm insane because I enjoy playing Bach so much more than Chopin XD

On the music side of things: 

Frédéric François Chopin (1810-1849) dedicated his entire compositional output to piano. Born in Warsaw to a Polish mother and French father, he lived in Poland until he was 21, when he moved to Paris. Paris in the 1930s was the center of the new Romanticism. The circle in which Chopin moved included musicians such as Liszt and Berlioz, and literary figures such as Victor huge, George Sand, and Alexandre Dumas.

He met Aurore Dudevant, “the lady with the somber eye”, known as George Sand, through the virtuosos pianist Liszt. She was thirty-four, he was twenty-eight when their famous friendship began. He spent his summers at Sand’s estate at Nohant for the next eight years, where she entertained many of France’s prominent artists and writers. His relationship with Sand ran its course from love to conflict, jealousy, and hostility; they finally parted in bitterness.

- “Chopin felt and often repeated that in breaking this long affection , this powerful bond, he had broken his life.” (Liszt)
- “What has become of my art? And my heart, where have I wasted it?” (Chopin)

A liaison with the writer Jules Sandeau heralded Dudevant's literary debut. They published a few stories in collaboration, signing them "Jules Sand." Her first published novel, Rose et Blanche (1831), was written in collaboration with Sandeau. She subsequently adopted, for her first independent novel, Indiana (1832), the pen name that made her famous – George Sand.

Chopin is considered the national composer of Poland. He based his mazurkas and polonaises on the songs and dances of his people, the Polish. During WWII the Nazis outlawed the playing of Chopin’s polonaises in Warsaw because of the powerful symbolism behind the works.

His work with the piano has credited him with originating the modern piano style. he is considered master of the short piano piece and the only master of the first rank whose entire creative life revolved around the piano. His genius transformed even the limitations of the instrument at the time (its inability to sustain tone for any length of time) into sources of beauty.

I didn't have a waltz set in my head while I wrote this (but they're all gorgeous, so definitely have a listen to one if you can), but the nocturne I had in mind was his famous Nocturne in E-flat major, Op. 9, No. 2 (Austria plays this during the anime, I think), which is one of the pieces I'm working on now, ahha XD

During the 1930s, there was a huge rise in salon music, mostly centered around the piano, and this spread all the way across the Atlantic. (Actually, my knowledge stops at how it affected America, but I'm assuming Canada can't have been that different? ><)

On the history side of things:

My face while trying to research French history during this time was something like ._.?? Too many take overs and changes of government and I just asdfjkl;.  Someone educate me, please D;

I'll just refer you guys all to the Wikipedia because I would probably just end up copy pasting an entire article from there anyway ><; All you really need to know is that France was still a mess ^^;

The War of 1812 (June 18, 1812 – February 18, 1815) was waged between the British (through Canada) and the Americans. The Burning of Washington occured on August 24, 1814, as retalition for the Battle of York (modern day Toronto) on April 27, 1813. The war itself was kind of pointless in terms of territory gain/loss, but a heightened sense of pride and national feeling resulted, as well as improved relations between the British and the Americans.

am capable of making A/Ns under 1000 words for this fic! 

Date: 2011-05-15 23:36 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] alliterations.livejournal.com
Ah, I was wondering when you were going to do my favorite composer. Chopin is simply amazing <3
And ahhhh the scene where France and Canada are dancing, their conversation, my heart.
This was just lovely all around~

Date: 2011-05-16 00:30 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] darkfireburning.livejournal.com
Thank you so much!

Yes, Chopin's fantastic <3 Out of curiosity - what are your favorite Chopin pieces?

Date: 2011-05-16 00:35 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] alliterations.livejournal.com
I love his waltzes, they always sound so whimsical to me, it's great ^.^
But the piece you mentioned in the fic is very lovely as well. I wish I was musical so I could play these things XD

Date: 2011-05-16 00:53 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] darkfireburning.livejournal.com
His pieces aren't fun to learn, but they're worth it in the end ~

His waltzes are great <3

Date: 2011-05-16 01:34 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tamerlorika.livejournal.com
OH SO PRETTY. I love the waltz bit... the fact that Canada still wants to keep him close (haha and Chopin being all knowing about it)

Date: 2011-05-16 03:35 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] darkfireburning.livejournal.com
Thank you so much!

(Oh, Chopin. He knows something's going on between those two ;D)

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