Daria van den Bercken hearts Handel

What do you do when you fall in love?
If you’re Dutch/Russian pianist Daria van den Bercken, you do things musicians don’t normally do. Slightly crazy things that involve balloons and pianos and cobbled streets. And then, through surprise and wonder, you share that thing you fell in love with – with as many people as possible.

She starts with a confession. One afternoon, sick at home and surfing the web, Daria came across sheet music from George Frideric Handel (German-born British Baroque composer, famous for his operas, oratorios, anthems and organ concertos), and, fever and all, fell head over heels in love. Determined to bring his music to people, Daria played the keys while she hung from a balloon floating over the heads of stunned Brazilians. She was also towed through the cobbled streets of Amsterdam, while seated at a piano.

But why?

The she asked herself why? Why dangle from bungee cord and risk her life? Or hobble over streets and lose control over the keys? After sitting down and beautifully playing a melancholy piece, then following it up with a flighty, happy excerpt, Daria explains that the magic of it all is that amazing feeling of wonder.

In her tiny room in Amsterdam, in the space of 3 minutes, she experienced both melancholy and pure joy, and through those that sense of wonder that she thought she had lost. The same sense of wonder she experienced as a child. The same one she sees in young children when she plays for them. And the sense of wonder she misses as those children become older.

Rediscovering the magic

As Daria remembers it, when she was eight, she would run to her mother after discovering something she loved, and now that she is older she can run to others. To everyone who will listen. So that’s what she did when she discovered Handel; after she rediscovered that joy. And even though the reactions of people are not always positive, she’s just happy to have reactions at all. “So many different responses to one and the same piece of music jut means the music is really great.”

“I want to try to communicate it as best I can. So why don’t I try to reach my real state of wonder just at the same point when you are most open to it. You all pretend to be seven and listen while I conclude this talk with some music.”

Of course it was Handel. And of course it was great.


Further reading:

Find out more about Daria van den Bercken on her website www.handelatthepiano.com