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Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin [Re: -Frycek] #1292577
10/23/09 05:08 PM
10/23/09 05:08 PM
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loveschopintoomuch Offline OP
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Frycek: Would this condition be called "congestive heart failure" today?

Jeff: I am listening to 62, #1, as I write this, and wow..is it ever a prime example of Chopin's genius at improv. The whole piece sounds as if he just sat down and doodled and noodled around. If only I could noodled as well. One just never has an inkling of what might be coming next; hence, it has that "ad lib" quality. I got a chill as I zoomed in on that letter and could actually make out the wording. Well, not the Polish translation, but I could actually make out the individual letters. I don't know why, but I felt as if I were invading his privacy, that's how personal it felt. heart

I can only imagine what Beethoven's manuscripts looked like. However, I do think that it is the very essense of music (and perhaps most art) that it is a living thing, if you will. Again, I can only imagine that when Chopin saw an actual published copy of one of his works, he was not happy with it. Oh, that perfectionism in him cried out for his pen and those famous cross-outs. He was perhaps the first and most famous do-overs of composers. Always great "hearing" from you.

Jeff: That index on the first page was created by me, and it almost killed me. What a job!! I had no inkling that the thread would get as large as it has. I finally had to give up. But yes, in the Composer's Corner, we have our very own topic - Chopin, under which we can start any thread on any subject. Jump right in and start something new.

Kathleen




Last edited by loveschopintoomuch; 10/23/09 05:34 PM.

After playing Chopin, I feel as if I had been weeping over sins that I had never committed, and mourning over tragedies that were not my own." Oscar Wilde, 1891
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Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin [Re: loveschopintoomuch] #1292603
10/23/09 06:10 PM
10/23/09 06:10 PM
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Originally Posted by loveschopintoomuch
Frycek: Would this condition be called "congestive heart failure" today?



No, cor pulmonale is a different entity. Cor pulmonale is right sided heart failure. Congestive heart failure is left sided heart failure and is more common and more treatable. The symptoms are quite similar though - including shortness of breath, faintness, swelling ankles and legs.


Slow down and do it right.
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Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin [Re: -Frycek] #1292660
10/23/09 08:28 PM
10/23/09 08:28 PM
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A very interesting look-up. Thank you, Frycek.


Clef

Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin [Re: Jeff Clef] #1292695
10/23/09 09:35 PM
10/23/09 09:35 PM
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Jeff Clef, I don't know what page it's on, but sometime early in 2008 (I think) we had a long discussion of the various theories of what was wrong with Chopin, and it should be possible to find it, but might be more trouble than it's worth! I am-- mostly-- in the alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency camp. But definitely, at the end, it was heart failure.

Elene

Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin [Re: Elene] #1293495
10/25/09 04:12 PM
10/25/09 04:12 PM
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Discovering more Chopin bit by bit.
Just now I nearly cried when I heard Etude Op. 25 No. 1 for the first time:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p46asrc_7BA&fmt=18
What a wonderful piece. I can't get enough.

Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin [Re: babama] #1293496
10/25/09 04:14 PM
10/25/09 04:14 PM
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Dear babama, you have some treats ahead of you. Even now, after many listenings, Chopin sometimes brings tears to my eyes.

Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin [Re: Mary-Rose] #1293805
10/26/09 06:36 AM
10/26/09 06:36 AM
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I just found this article on the bbc webiste. It's ten years old so you may have not seen it before the part that interested me was this:

"Chopin's music - best known for his piano preludes - was part of Poland's national identity."

The middle part in particular. Do you agree that his preludes were what he was best known for? And why?


"Simplicity is the highest goal, achievable when you have overcome all difficulties." - Frédéric Chopin

"Hats off gentlemen, a genius!" - Schumann on Chopin

"Chopin is the greatest of them all, for through the piano alone he discovered everything" - Debussy on Chopin


Venables & Son 152
Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin [Re: Chopin4life] #1293810
10/26/09 06:50 AM
10/26/09 06:50 AM
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Hi Chopin4life, no, I don't agree with that statement at all and if I'd seen it at the time would have written to the naughty BBC to contradict it (as I have since about other Chopin-related errors).

So what is Chopin 'best known for'? I would say, if you'll excuse my using the nicknames:

- Funeral March
- Minute Waltz
- Revolutionary Study
- Military Polonaise
- Raindrop Prelude

What do others think?


Last edited by Mary-Rose; 10/26/09 07:42 AM. Reason: put 'Heroic' instead of 'Military'
Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin [Re: Mary-Rose] #1293835
10/26/09 07:48 AM
10/26/09 07:48 AM
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loveschopintoomuch Offline OP
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I just noticed that we have two Jeffs. If it's OK with Jeff Cleff, I will address him as Clef.


Welcome Babama: The etude (25, 1) is one that always brings tears to my eyes. I remember hearing it as background music for a skater in the Winter Olympics some years ago. I have never seen or heard anything like it...from heaven-sent. I agree with Mary-Rose that you have hours upon hours of pure joy ahead of you.

Mary-Rose: I agree with your list although I wish it weren't so. These are pieces that have overshadowed so much of Chopin's extraordinary compositions. While I do like the idea that he is recognized by many for the works you cited, if I had my way, I would create my own list that would truly represent his genius (not that the above are not sublime, but just crowding out what the public is really missing).

It will take me a day to get my head on straight and come up with my own wish-list, if you will.

BTW, I borrowed the book Piano by Jeremy Siepmann. What a treasure chest of information it is.


Kathleen



Last edited by loveschopintoomuch; 10/26/09 08:30 AM.

After playing Chopin, I feel as if I had been weeping over sins that I had never committed, and mourning over tragedies that were not my own." Oscar Wilde, 1891
Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin [Re: Mary-Rose] #1293836
10/26/09 07:51 AM
10/26/09 07:51 AM
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Yes I agree that list probably covers most of the most popular ones. I'd add nocturne op. 9 no. 2 and fantaisie impromptu?

How about the most famous genre, like preludes?

Last edited by Chopin4life; 10/26/09 08:11 AM. Reason: grammar mistake

"Simplicity is the highest goal, achievable when you have overcome all difficulties." - Frédéric Chopin

"Hats off gentlemen, a genius!" - Schumann on Chopin

"Chopin is the greatest of them all, for through the piano alone he discovered everything" - Debussy on Chopin


Venables & Son 152
Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin [Re: Chopin4life] #1293843
10/26/09 08:11 AM
10/26/09 08:11 AM
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To Mary-Rose's (and Chopin4life's) list I would add Prelude #4, in E min. Am not aware of a nickname for this one, but it keeps popping up in movies and seems to be a popular piece for piano students who are just beginning to learn Chopin.

Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin [Re: loveschopintoomuch] #1293846
10/26/09 08:23 AM
10/26/09 08:23 AM
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loveschopintoomuch Offline OP
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Me again. I can only write so much and then I run out of screen. Still haven't figured out why this happens to me.

Re: Jeremy's book. First of all, it would make a glorious Christmas present for anyone interested in not only piano music but also some of the great pianist and composers. As I was browsing through it, just briefly, I came across some interesting bits of information:

"Chopin was 5'2":" (Gosh, I thought he was 5'7". And forgive me, but that popular song: "Five Feet Two, Eyes of Blue, but oh what those 5 feet could do" came to my silly mind.

"A passionate lover with a prudish aversion to overt sexuality, he unveiled in the piano a realm of sensual possibilities, never previously dreamt of."

"...he retained to the end his capacity for happiness, and was even able to regard his illness with shafts of humour. He retained, too, his capacity for friendship. And yet Liszt said of him. 'He would give you almost anything, except himself.' That he reserved, in all its richness and variety, for his music."

And Debussy: 'Chopin was the greatest of them all for through the piano alone he discovered everything.'"

That's all for now because I know I about to lose my space again. Be back with my "list."

Kathleen



After playing Chopin, I feel as if I had been weeping over sins that I had never committed, and mourning over tragedies that were not my own." Oscar Wilde, 1891
Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin [Re: Mary-Rose] #1293847
10/26/09 08:28 AM
10/26/09 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Chopin4life
Do you agree that his preludes were what he was best known for? And why?

I guess I tend to overanalyze questions like these, as my first reaction is "best known to whom?" The answers could be different from musicians, from pianists in particular, and from the general public—and even within each group depending on an individual's knowledge.

I don't think anyone from any group would say that the Preludes are categorically what Chopin is best known for. I think that reflects the (lack of) knowledge of the author of the statement, and it may as well have been pulled out of thin air.

Originally Posted by Mary-Rose
So what is Chopin 'best known for'? I would say, if you'll excuse my using the nicknames:

- Funeral March
- Minute Waltz
- Revolutionary Study
- Military Polonaise
- Raindrop Prelude

What do others think?

This would be my list of individual pieces, too, to which I would add the "Heroic" Polonaise and the Fantaisie-Impromptu. But—overanalyzing again—I think that many non-musicians would recognize these tunes as familiar but not necessarily know that they were written by Chopin.

And that could be a whole other category, in which the Funeral March, in my opinion, would be the most famous of the lot. And while I think that most people of most backgrounds know the name "Minute Waltz," they aren't so likely to recognize it by melody (and they probably believe, too, that "minute" refers to a 60-second duration rather than minuteness in size).

I think Chopin's best-known category of pieces—in a hypothetical, randomly sampled, statistically average way smile —is the Polonaises. Chopin is so strongly associated with Poland, after all, and two of the Polonaises have readily recognizable themes.

Steven

Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin [Re: sotto voce] #1293853
10/26/09 08:43 AM
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Yes the funeral march is probably the most famous to the general public, although most probably don't know it was written by Chopin. Yet, about the polonaises, I hadn't even heard of the word "polonaise" until around a year ago when I first got into piano as a serious hobby. But, then again, I was young (and still am) and not very knowledgeable in classical music (I'm still not). Saying that though, the first time I knowingly listened to the Heroic Polonaise, I did think "I recognize that!".


"Simplicity is the highest goal, achievable when you have overcome all difficulties." - Frédéric Chopin

"Hats off gentlemen, a genius!" - Schumann on Chopin

"Chopin is the greatest of them all, for through the piano alone he discovered everything" - Debussy on Chopin


Venables & Son 152
Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin [Re: loveschopintoomuch] #1293858
10/26/09 09:02 AM
10/26/09 09:02 AM
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Originally Posted by loveschopintoomuch

"Chopin was 5'2":" (Gosh, I thought he was 5'7". And forgive me, but that popular song: "Five Feet Two, Eyes of Blue, but oh what those 5 feet could do" came to my silly mind.


He was 5'7" (unless he was using really big lifts when they measured him for his passport.) wink


Slow down and do it right.
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Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin [Re: -Frycek] #1293982
10/26/09 11:35 AM
10/26/09 11:35 AM
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The Piano
Jeremey Siepmann
Carlton Books, pub., 2002, 192pp, hardcover
ISBN-13: 9781858681900

The Piano: The Complete Illustrated Guide to the World's Most Popular Musical Instrument
Jeremey Siepmann
Hal Leonard, pub., 1998, 192pp, softcover
ISBN-13: 9780793599769

Appears to be the same book with a different jacket. Both editions are out of print, but are available from used bookstores. I remember seeing it in such a place, but passed it by. Maybe I was looking for something more hardcore than a coffee-table book; I got a couple on the history of the instrument and on its physical workings at about the same time. Or maybe it was too much money for a used book (our local store is known for that), or not in the best condition (that, too). I'm glad to have a more informed opinion; I'll look for it again--- once my book budget is refreshed. I believe I have enough to read this month!

"I don't know what page it's on, but sometime early in 2008 (I think) we had a long discussion of the various theories of what was wrong with Chopin..."

Thanks, Elene, I found it. Spot-on regarding the time-frame, which was a big help. (Did you know, Scriabin's daughter was named Elena.)

"If it's OK with Jeff Clef, I will address him as Clef."

I like it, Kathleen. I know about a dozen Jeffs, as many Toms, and God knows how many Mikes, and I use the very same device.

"Do you agree that his preludes were what he was best known for? And why?"

I don't have a definite opinion about this. The waltzes are certainly very familiar, and the etudes. Right now, I'm working my way through Garrick Ohlsson's reading of the Nocturnes. He takes them at a deliciously slow tempo, one might almost say eccentrically slow compared to other readings I have on disc. There's a lot to be said for it. He reads them to make it sound as if Chopin was doodling or improvising at the piano, late at night in the summertime, with the fragrant night air flooding through the open windows; his thought unfolding very gently. My special favorite, the G min Op. 37, No. 1 is especially delicious, with the turns and trills slow enough to hear them in a more detailed way... almost like a string vibrating at such a low frequency that you can hear it tick back and forth. And who knows, performing them on the Bosendorfer Imperial, maybe the resonance of those extra bass strings can be sensed, if not heard directly.

Whether it would work on the concert stage, I'm not so sure; it may be too intimate, too narcotic, to project in a big hall. Never mind, it projects fine in my music room.


Clef

Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin [Re: Jeff Clef] #1294028
10/26/09 12:17 PM
10/26/09 12:17 PM
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loveschopintoomuch Offline OP
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Well, now that it has been discovered that Siepmann was incorrect about Chopin's height, I wonder what else he has written that perhaps is not true. I know he has a great reputation, so perhaps I am being too hard on him. He mentions in this same book that Liszt practiced 14+ hours a day. Maybe so, but how often I wonder?

Kathleen


After playing Chopin, I feel as if I had been weeping over sins that I had never committed, and mourning over tragedies that were not my own." Oscar Wilde, 1891
Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin [Re: loveschopintoomuch] #1294042
10/26/09 12:25 PM
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Probably huge swaths of humanity could hum the first few notes of the Funeral March, though they might have no idea where it came from. What would Warner Brothers cartoons have been without that piece? wink

Among the preludes, certainly one which entered the popular consciousness is #20, the one Barry Manilow used for "Could it Be Magic?". If you were trying to forget about that, I'm sorry I reminded you! (Another pianist of Polish extraction with a heroic nose!)

Kathleen, or someone, why not try to look up Siepmann and write to him? Perhaps he'd chat with us a bit.

Liszt couldn't have practiced 14 hours every day... would have left no time for chasing women... no, seriously, he was busy composing too!

Elene



Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin [Re: loveschopintoomuch] #1294043
10/26/09 12:27 PM
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I listened to Siepmann's book on tape a couple of years ago - I remember the height business and I think some sort of mistake about one of Chopin's sisters, or maybe Elsner or Maria - whatever it was it was obvious - - anyway except for a couple of faux pas like that I thought it was a pretty good book.

The notorious "Funeral March" was the first Chopin I ever learned to play -(and all I learned of his for a long time) - I must have been about 10. I remember I couldn't keep a straight face. I wasn't into Chopin yet and it was just so campy at the time.


Slow down and do it right.
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Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin [Re: -Frycek] #1294460
10/26/09 10:27 PM
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Frycek, surely you don't mean that you played the whole Funeral March, with the ginormous chords, at age 10?? If so, that's phenomenal!

Elene

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