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#981374 - 08/02/08 08:30 AM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin  
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His popularity will never fade as long as there are pianos in this world, and people who love to play music that is ageless and sublime.

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
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#981375 - 08/02/08 02:47 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin  
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Quote
Originally posted by Elene:
So many people to share him with....
Elene, what an interesting comment.

In matters of popular culture, I've often had the experience of fascination with something or other that fades once it has become mainstream. For some reason, the element of obscurity adds to the enchantment; once something has been embraced by the masses, it's no longer special and loses its allure. Familiarity breeds contempt?

But how about our regard for Chopin, considering his undisputed stature and overwhelming popularity? I've always found his universal acclaim to be cause for celebration and never felt that it tarnished my feelings. My relationship with Chopin's music is inviolable. If everyone who shares our devotion feels that way, too, it doesn't diminish the uniqueness of my own personal connection at all.

Steven

#981376 - 08/03/08 08:22 AM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin  
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Well said (as usual), Steven.

I've always been extremely pleased when I hear a youngster playing a Chopin piece or when I attend a professional concert in which Chopin is given center stage.

And, it goes without saying, reading all the threads on the ABF where people are asking questions about which of his etudes are the easiest or which prelude to start with, etc.

I just wish the whole world would feel as we do. One can never get enough of a good thing.

Oh, another thought. In the Pianist Corner, there is a thread going entitled: "Who is your least favorite composer." AND, the last time I looked, Chopin did not appear anywhere. yippie However, our dear friend Bach did...also Mozart. wow

The Pianist Corner has the most accomplished pianists posting. The fact that they (as a whole) didn't particulary care for Bach or Mozart sort of made me smile a bit.

Don't get mad. I know Bach is very much a favorite of many. This is just an observation, nothing more. :p

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
#981377 - 08/04/08 03:28 AM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin  
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I finally listened to the Gould recordings of Beethoven and Chopin. When I heard the Moonlight Sonata finale, my first thought was, “How can anyone play this so inhumanly fast?” And my second thought was, “Why would anyone want to?” But the fact that he could certainly is amazing.

I listened to the Chopin third movement before the first, and didn’t mind it particularly, but in the first movement, Gould’s mechanical-sounding approach shows its weakness. “Jouée par un ordinateur” says one of the YouTube comments—as if “played by a computer.”

It was interesting to juxtapose these two pieces, because it seems to me that the third movement of Chopin’s third sonata is his most Beethoven-like work. Those who think Chopin paid no attention to Beethoven have apparently never heard his sonatas at all.

But: a Chopin fugue? I ran into that on YouTube too, and I hadn’t known it existed.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AkSIz0KL60A&feature=related

Or does it exist, really? The notes that accompany it call its authenticity into question:

‘Composed in 1840 or 1841, published in 1898.
This fugue is from a manuscript in the possession of Natalie Janotha, who probably got it from the late Princess Czartoryska, a pupil of the composer.
Chopin in a letter to Fontana (summer 1839): Otherwise I do nothing; I correct for myself the Parisian edition of Bach; not only the stroke-makers errors, but, I think, the harmonic errors committed by those who pretend to understand Bach. I do not do it with the pretension that I understand him better than they, but from a conviction that I sometimes guess how it ought to be."
James Huneker wrote: "The composition is ineffective, and in spots ugly, particularly in the stretta, and is no doubt an exercise during the working years with Elsner. The fact that in the coda the very suspicious octave pedal-point and trills may be omitted, so the editorial note urns [sic], leads one to suspect that out of a fragment Janotha has evolved, Cuvier-like, an entire composition. Chopin as fugue-maker does not appear in a brilliant light." ‘

Can anyone provide further enlightenment about this piece?

Elene

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#981378 - 08/04/08 09:09 AM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin  
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Elene, in the version of Huneker's biography edited by Herbert Weinstock, Weinstock adds this footnote to the text you quoted:

"The A Minor Fugue is authentic."

I don't know if that's still treated as an undisputed fact, but I haven't heard otherwise.

I wish I liked the fugue more. I guess it's grown on me a little bit over time, but it's hard not to be disappointed by it.

Steven

#981379 - 08/04/08 09:09 AM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin  
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Hi Elene:

This fugue is listed in Bailie's book. Whether or not this is verification that he actually wrote it, still may not be proof. But it would seem so.

However, she mentions that it is a curiosity, but it should be remember how he was devoted to Bach, so perhaps it should come as no surprise.

She goes on to add that it is a complete two-voice fugue (probably written in 1841-2) with a purposeful 6-bar subject and countersubject, partial entries of the subject in stretto and determinedly modulating episodes.

What is even more curious is that she doesn't write that it is ineffective or ugly, as Huneker opines. (Who cares what he thought anyhow.)

I rather liked it. It sounded like Bach but not quite. Maybe it's that "not quite," that I liked.

Chopin, who mentioned that Beethoven was too loud, still had great respect for the man and his music and often had his students play it.

How can anyone not like Beethoven? He is, as often stated, larger than life and was a genius in the true sense of the word.

I'm going to see if I can find a copy of Chopin's fugue, for I can't seem to get into Bach...at all.

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
#981380 - 08/04/08 09:24 AM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin  
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Kathleen, I see you and I posted at the same moment.

I didn't know whether to laugh or cringe at the comment that Beethoven was "too loud"; it almost sounds like a very un-PC jest about his deafness! eek

The score for the fugue is at IMSLP. I thought of learning it once upon a time, but decided not to after reading through it a couple of times. It didn't lie well under my hands, and I found the sustained trills really awkward—and not enough musical substance IMHO to make it worthwhile.

Steven

#981381 - 08/04/08 01:33 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin  
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Thank you for the info on the fugue. I didn't know about IMSLP. I see that it had been shut down for a while but is now up and running again.

Chopin must have had to write fugues and/or other contrapuntal pieces during his training, as well, but I suppose those are all gone.

Elene

#981382 - 08/04/08 01:52 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin  
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Thanks, Steven. I tried getting on that site, but I couldn't figure out how to print the music. It really doesn't matter however. Since you didn't find it worthwhile and a bit awkward to play, I think I'll stick with the nocturnes and waltzes for a while.

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
#981383 - 08/04/08 02:08 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin  
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Quote
Originally posted by Elene:
Thank you for the info on the fugue. I didn't know about IMSLP. I see that it had been shut down for a while but is now up and running again.

Chopin must have had to write fugues and/or other contrapuntal pieces during his training, as well, but I suppose those are all gone.

Elene
Teenaged Chopin mentions in a letter that Professor Elsner was tutoring him twice a week in "strict counterpoint."


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#981384 - 08/04/08 06:28 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin  
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I was browsing through Bailie's book and came across her entry for Chopin's etude, 10/3 (posted as a 8+).

She writes that this is one of the great tunes (ugh), not just of Chopin's, but of the world. And that Niecks records that Chopin told his pupil Gutmann that "he had never in his life written another such beautiful melody; and one occasion when Gutmann was studying it, the master lifted up his arms with his hands clasped and exclaimed 'O my fatherland!'"

I would certainly agree that the melody is as majestic as it gets. But I have always thought of it in terms of a "love song" (please excuse the expression). Ah, but then it is, isn't it? heart

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
#981385 - 08/04/08 06:40 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin  
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It is both. Trying to imagine a more noble yet sweetly irenic melody strains the mind.

Another thing: that Monsieur Chopin hid this arresting and almost transcendent piece under the rather dry and didactic label "Etude" seems to deluge the mind with irony. DID he really regard these as "studies" in the sense of excercise music ala Hanon? Or had he an uncommonly dry sense of irony/humor?


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#981386 - 08/04/08 07:33 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin  
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Dear Gerg: It's more than wonderful to hear from you. smile smile You have been sorely missed. frown

And you raise a most interesting question. That Chopin could think of his most beautiful melody as an etude is, indeed, ironic.

Although his etudes are "studies," I do not believe that he ever wanted them to be played as such. He did not believe in acrobats for the keyboard. (I think he used that term?) He found no use for the likes of Hanon et al.

So I think he set out to make his etudes more music than finger exercises. Of course, he could never know just how magical and monumental they would turn out to be. Although he was quite proud of them, he would be amazed that they are still considered masterpieces almost two hundred years after he wrote them.

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
#981387 - 08/04/08 07:46 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin  
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Kathleen,

heart

I lack the historical knowledge of the rest of you to be able to comment regularly about the man himself. But your knowledge - and Joe's, Steven's MaryRose's, and the others here - is deeply appreciated and absorbed by lurkers.

What Chopin considered a "study" was what ordinary men and women consider great music. Of the group, only 10/2 even approaches "exercise music" and even it is pretty well salted with musical content. One could even make a strong case that, since many of us listen to the Etudes as a group, it is the matter-of-fact mechanical rote of 10/2 that helps 10/3 stand out even more.


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#981388 - 08/04/08 11:04 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin  
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Gerg,

Once I played 25/7 for a cellist, and his reaction was,"That's an etude!?" He was amazed that pianists had such wondrous music to use for studies, and said that there was nothing similar in the cello repertoire.

On the guitar, we have the studies of Chopin's more-or-less contemporary, Fernando Sor. While they're not quite in the same league as Chopin's, they combine great beauty with didactic usefulness in a similar way. Villa-Lobos accomplished something like that too.

I am not yet able to play very many of Chopin's etudes, but it never ceases to amaze me how much I learn from the ones I do play. And the musical gorgeousness and emotional depth pull one forward through the technical challenges.

10/3 twists the brain more than the fingers, don't you think? And yet soothes the heart at the same time.

Elene

#981389 - 08/05/08 08:23 AM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin  
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Quote
Originally posted by sotto voce:
...I wish I liked the fugue more. I guess it's grown on me a little bit over time, but it's hard not to be disappointed by it.

Steven
Sotto, to be disappointed you have to have expectations first. Just bear in mind that Chopin probably doodled this never for a moment expecting it to be published, let alone discussed on a worldwide forum. He'd probably be mortified!

But if you think of it as just a little personal, almost throw-away exercise that Chopin did for himself - it's not so bad, is it?

#981390 - 08/05/08 08:39 AM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin  
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Elene,

I can't say I'm not surprised by the cellist's response! Cello is no much worse than piano in terms of beautiful repertoaire still being targeted (at least partially) as technical study. What about caprices of Paganini, and Wieniawski, those for cello, and those transcribed for violin?

Nevertheless, after going deep into Chopin etudes I can't think of them as pure studies never more. These are masterpieces, and one of the core works of Chopin I love. They are technically demanding, fast, furious, extremely complex, and still convey deep feelings and beautiful melodies.

I'm not ready to play any of them, but I certainly love listening to them. I often have days when the mood makes me love etudes even more than nocturnes, because of their musical character!

p.s. Kathleen, I'm alive! smile The DVD is still on its way. This doesn't surprise me either - I don't expect it till early September, knowing our postal service! laugh And, because you asked, I'm 20 - so even porn is good for me, as long as customs won't have problems with it thumb ha


Mateusz


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#981391 - 08/05/08 09:15 AM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin  
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Mati:

What a relief to hear from you. smile I am thrilled to know that you are still among the living. I had a nightmare a few days ago that you got arrested and thrown into a Polish prison. WHAT! You still haven't received the DVD? I sent it over a month ago. I hope whoever might have watched it, enjoyed it...but they had better get it to you soon, or else... mad

I am like Mati in that I can't play any of the etudes. I believe it would take some years of lessons in technique and years of Hanon (ugh), perhaps, to even try to attempt one. BUT they are supreme! I remember walking on the shores of the Atlantic during a storm and listening to them (on a cassette recorder). The setting was perfect as the angry waves roared toward me.

I read somewhere that someone thought that one of them was not only ugly but decandent and perverse! Yikes, I can't even imagine Chopin composing any music that would fit that description. And, how could music contain those elements anyhow? It has to be the listener that possesses those qualities, for music is pure. True, it does find emotion in those who hear it, but that emotion comes from within.

The only exception I can think of is the current "rap" noise. Now we're talking about decandent and perverse. bah

If I didn't play the piano (such as I do), I would have loved to learn the cello or violin, but I have heard that they are both quite difficult to master...even more so than the piano, which might be considered easy in comparison.

MaryRose: I have listened to Chopin fugue several times now, and I find it very moving. Even if he wrote it as an exercise for school, it can stand on its own against some other composers' music. I wish I could download it, but I had such a time trying to do so on that site. So I never did accomplish it.

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
#981392 - 08/05/08 11:12 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin  
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What exactly is the technique 10/3 is supposed to work on?

I've played a handful of chopin etudes, even performed 10/1 at a masterclass. They continue to be some of my favorite pieces of music, and so much fun to play.


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J.S. Bach
#981393 - 08/05/08 11:57 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin  
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Quote
Originally posted by Cheeto717:
What exactly is the technique 10/3 is supposed to work on?
Well, the traditional description for it—along with the two other slow-tempo studies in Op. 10 and Op. 25—is a study in touch.

But whereas 10/6 and 25/7 are homogeneous in tempo and texture, 10/3 is anything but. In my mind, the outer sections of 10/3 are an exercise in singing tone, phrasing, legato without overuse of pedal, and the balance of two voices with differing dynamics in the right hand.

The first part of the middle section requires most of those same elements; the remainder calls for execution of two-note slurred figures (with deft repositioning of the hands) and legato augmented fourths. The bravura culmination in broken diminished sevenths will be a severe test for anyone who approached this piece believing it to be relatively easy!

Taken as a whole, the etude is a study in narrative cohesion, too: repose at the outset, drama (starting at bar 21), tension (bar 38), climax (bar 46), relief (bar 54), and repose again (bar 62).

Just my two cents!

Steven

p.s. Cheeto, if you ever find that harmonic analysis of 10/1, I'm still interested!

#981394 - 08/06/08 07:45 AM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin  
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Steven's description of 10/3 is spot-on; according to this website Chopin Music: Etudes it's an exercise in legato playing and syncopation.

Also mentioned in this website regarding 10/3 is the challenge of the cross-accents in the right hand, which are designed to clash with the bass-line accents.
Quote
What you have, in actual fact, are two separate melodies played off against each other and each one falls in and out of prominence sequentially.
This I have found to be the most challenging aspect of the first section, in my (to date) inconsistent attempts to learn the piece. Hopefully I'll be able to take it on "officially" with my teacher soon. It's definitely one of my favorites, since the first time I heard it (without knowing who composed it).

P.S. That website link takes you to the homepage of the Chopin Music website; click on "Works" in the menu bar to see the link for Etudes (and other types of pieces.)

#981395 - 08/06/08 12:37 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin  
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"The bravura culmination in broken diminished sevenths will be a severe test for anyone who approached this piece believing it to be relatively easy!"

Yes, Steven! I DIDN'T believe the piece was relatively easy, and I still find that a severe test. There's nothing really physically difficult in it, but it still twists my brain.

The outer sections are not technically terrible, of course, but because of the peculiar way the two hands interact, they are more challenging than they look.

And thanks to Steven, I now have a copy of that fugue, and played through it last night. I'm not quite sure what to think of it yet. I had tried to get it from IMSLP, but their file had been damaged and couldn't be downloaded. Steven sent these other two links, and I'm adding them in case you want to have a look:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/245511/Chopin-Fuga-in-aminor

http://vkgfx.com/scores/chopin/posthumous/opposth-fuga.pdf

I had no idea so many sources of sheet music were available on the web. The scribd.com site also has other types of documents.

Elene

#981396 - 08/06/08 04:18 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin  
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Thanks for the site, Steven. I printed out the fugue but have a feeling that I won't get to it in the near future.

While on that site, I did discovered this

http://www.scribd.com/doc/3145604/Chopin-vs-Liszt-On-piano-teaching?ga_related_doc=1

and found it interesting. Perhaps, when any of you have the time...

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
#981397 - 08/07/08 10:00 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin  
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Speaking of obscure documents:
My article "The Music of Rosemary Brown from a Pianist's Perspective" was published in the summer issue of the Journal of Spirituality and Paranormal Studies. Both Chopin and Liszt figure prominently in it. If anyone would like to read it, please let me know.

Elene

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Yes, Elene: I certainly would like to read your article.

Thanks,
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
#981399 - 08/08/08 10:59 AM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin  
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Elene: Count me in, too, please.

#981400 - 08/08/08 06:04 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin  
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Return to Chopin Jeopardy:
Category: History of the Piano, for $400:

Answer: He gave the first ever public concert on the "piano forte" in London, in 1768........

#981401 - 08/08/08 10:12 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin  
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sophial Offline
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Clementi?


Sophia

#981402 - 08/08/08 10:57 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin  
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Chardonnay Offline
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Boston, MA.
(Buzzer sounds).... Nope!

#981403 - 08/09/08 04:20 AM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin  
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SC Mountains
Who was Johann Christian Bach?


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