Medium Well

Ever wonder what Chopin’s speaking voice sounded like? A lot like Jacques Cousteau, as it turns out. And heaven looks like Versailles. That’s at least on the evidence of this 1955 recording (auto-loading flash file) of the composer communicating through the late British medium Leslie Flint. Chopin describes his sensations of death, and his transport to an afterworld community of artists and musicians. He doesn’t like much modern music, although he respects some unnamed practitioners who are “sincere,” but then again, he’s been spoiled by music of the higher plane, which doesn’t even require instruments. (Wonder what he thinks of the video game.)

(A more reliable resource: the Chopin Early Editions collection from the university of Chicago.)


  1. The things that happen to composers after they die! Not only did Chopin now pronounce French with a bad English accent, he also forgot the difference between a waltz and a mazurka (check out Rosemary Brown’s transcriptions from Chopin’s very late period, published I think not long after this fellow’s verbal emanation.)

  2. On a somewhat related note, I found Unfinished Symphonies by Rosemary Brown in a thrift store and read it in like 2 days cover to cover. I’m not sure it’s believable but it’s an interesting read.

  3. I’m the proud owner of Rosemary Brown’s album, and, real or fake, I’m always impressed that she had the good sense to have Donald Tovey write some of the liner notes.

  4. This is hilarious! Flint mixes all sorts of bad (“how you say”) accents, but he seems to have forgotten that Chopin was Polish. He does manage to say absolutely nothing in what seems to be an eternity (I can’t make it through the whole 26 minutes). Where and when would Chopin have learned to speak English anyway? It is hard to believe that people actually believed this stuff.

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