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#2062864 - 04/11/13 11:31 AM Chopin 4th Ballade  
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hopinmad Offline
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Hi,

I'm learning this piece now and was wondering if anyone had any thoughts or opinions on the piece that they'd like to share, and if anyone had any advice in learning it.

Thanks very much. smile


Patience's the best teacher, and time the best critic. - F.F.Chopin
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#2062866 - 04/11/13 11:37 AM Re: Chopin 4th Ballade [Re: hopinmad]  
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-- It's a great, great piece.

-- It's very hard.

-- The hardest parts might be the ones that seem easiest. I think most listeners (including judges and auditioners) lose interest in most performances before even getting to the "hard parts."

-- Don't feel like it's learned just when you have the notes.

-- Plus, the notes are very hard to have. grin

Don't let any of this stop you. But realize that the piece is a very major challenge. The good news is that it will keep 'giving' for the rest of your life. smile

#2062875 - 04/11/13 11:50 AM Re: Chopin 4th Ballade [Re: hopinmad]  
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Just don't ask Mark about the 4th scherzo.

Just kidding. I enjoy reading his essays every time. grin




The 4th ballade? It scares the crap out of me. I cannot express how intimidating it is to me. I don't even feel that way about the 4th scherzo or 3rd sonata, which are probably just as difficult. But I don't know, something about the 4th ballade...

#2062876 - 04/11/13 11:54 AM Re: Chopin 4th Ballade [Re: hopinmad]  
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It's one that I have decided to learn as well. So while I can enjoy reading through the easier sections I know have a lot to tackle with the difficult passages. For me it's a matter of tearing it apart and then putting it back together. I believe it is 18 pages so probably half of those need lots of practice. Have fun.

rada

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#2062928 - 04/11/13 01:42 PM Re: Chopin 4th Ballade [Re: JoelW]  
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Originally Posted by JoelW
Just don't ask Mark about the 4th scherzo.

Don't be so discouraging here, I'm optimistically considering learning this for a masterclass fairly soon and a competition later on wink

As for the Ballade, well...it's a huge undertaking indeed. As has been said already, one of the issues is to maintain interest and not lose momentum. In the following book, I remember reading various useful remarks by Samuil Feinberg and others on this piece (as well as plenty of other pieces by Chopin): http://www.amazon.com/The-Russian-Piano-School-Conservatoire/dp/1871082889

#2063003 - 04/11/13 04:19 PM Re: Chopin 4th Ballade [Re: hopinmad]  
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This is possibly my favorite piece in the entire repertoire. I could talk on and on about it, and most likely fill several books. I chose my username partly because of it. smile (it's one of Chopin's most contrapuntal works). There is not a note out of place. Technically and musically, it is the hardest of the four ballades, as with the fourth scherzo relative to the other scherzos. It's amazingly rewarding to play, once you've learned it; but be warned you have a lot of hard work ahead of you. Practically everything about the piece is difficult, and amazingly beautiful when played well. The first several pages are technically easy, but you are so exposed that even if you don't miss a single note, every tiny slip in tone color or phrasing sticks out like a sore thumb. There are many double note passages that need to be worked on meticulously in order to achieve clarity within each line and with the passage as a whole. There is also a section with several tricky polyrhythms bunched into the space of a few bars, and then a transitional passage with a lot of fast right hand fingerwork, which leads into the first emotional climax of the piece (first because the coda is also a climax, in a different way). This section is so beautiful that it still often brings me to tears when I play it or hear it played. Following it is a section with huge arpeggios and fast sequences of chords, transitioning from D flat major back into F minor. After the five hushed pianissimo chords and a long pause comes the coda, which is chock-full of extremely difficult double note passages, including the infamous two bars of ascending chromatic thirds. There are no words to describe how brilliant Chopin's conception was in this coda, and indeed in the whole piece. After a gradual accelerando, those climactic unison arpeggios come crashing down on each other, and the piece ends in an explosion of pathos.


Regards,

Polyphonist
#2063067 - 04/11/13 06:58 PM Re: Chopin 4th Ballade [Re: hopinmad]  
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Easy peasy :-).

Just kidding, haha. It's hard. But don't allow yourself to be intimidated by it, you will never do it justice that way.

Learn the coda first.

#2063071 - 04/11/13 07:01 PM Re: Chopin 4th Ballade [Re: debrucey]  
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Originally Posted by debrucey

Learn the coda first.

I disagree. Learn the other double note sections first, and the coda will become easier.


Regards,

Polyphonist
#2063076 - 04/11/13 07:07 PM Re: Chopin 4th Ballade [Re: Polyphonist]  
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Originally Posted by Polyphonist
This is possibly my favorite piece in the entire repertoire. I could talk on and on about it....

....and I'm glad you did talk for a while about it -- that was a great post. thumb

And here's a little bonus for Hopinmad: smile
Discussion of the most remarkable 2 measures in all music

Originally Posted by Polyphonist
Originally Posted by debrucey

Learn the coda first.

I disagree. Learn the other double note sections first, and the coda will become easier.

I'm with Debrucey.

I think there are two things that are especially good ideas to work on first when you pick up a piece:
-- the ending, or
-- whatever you think will be the most challenging part

With this piece, the coda fits both.

#2063103 - 04/11/13 08:17 PM Re: Chopin 4th Ballade [Re: Mark_C]  
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
....and I'm glad you did talk for a while about it -- that was a great post. thumb

Thanks. smile

Oh my gosh, yes. They are amazing in every way possible: rhythm, texture, sheer beauty...
Originally Posted by Mark_C

I'm with Debrucey.

Whatever floats your boat.


Regards,

Polyphonist
#2063138 - 04/11/13 09:20 PM Re: Chopin 4th Ballade [Re: Polyphonist]  
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Originally Posted by Polyphonist
Whatever floats your boat.

It doesn't float my boat, but it does work better. grin


Hey, I don't even have a boat.... ha

#2063233 - 04/12/13 01:01 AM Re: Chopin 4th Ballade [Re: hopinmad]  
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It takes 20 minutes to play, two years to learn and 20 years to mature. If you stay with it, it will be one of the most rewarding efforts of your life...

Mwah!

#2063241 - 04/12/13 01:26 AM Re: Chopin 4th Ballade [Re: Auntie Lynn]  
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Originally Posted by Auntie Lynn
It takes 20 minutes to play....

.....twice grin


(Actually that would usually be more like 21-22 minutes....)

#2063339 - 04/12/13 08:28 AM Re: Chopin 4th Ballade [Re: Mark_C]  
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Thanks for all your responses. I started out (I actually started learning it about a week ago) learning the coda. It's not too bad - as with a lot (if not all!) of Chopin it "fits" under the hands very well. I have more difficulty with the two pages before the four up and down hands together arpeggio sweeps, probably because I find it harder to play it quietly and convincingly. A similar remark probably applies to where the main theme (C F E Bb D) comes in again but with the inner notes included as well. Also I find the very first bit (and where it comes back in A major) hard to play nicely.


Also,



Those two measures are incredible! But my favourite two measures I think are measures 51-52.

ALSO: Post 1000!



Patience's the best teacher, and time the best critic. - F.F.Chopin
#2063440 - 04/12/13 11:25 AM Re: Chopin 4th Ballade [Re: hopinmad]  
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I love this piece, from the beg to the end. But knowing how demanding and how difficult this piece, should not we ask ourselves whether at the end of the day that we will satisfy with the quality of our playing? If at the end of the day our quality of playing only 40% of that of professionals, will we satisfy? The answer is personal choice. One time I wanted to learn Rachmaninoff Prelude Op. 23 No. 5, my teacher did not think that I will be able to play well (Play well means it does not sound amateurish), he really discouraged me from learning that piece.

#2063447 - 04/12/13 11:39 AM Re: Chopin 4th Ballade [Re: hopinmad]  
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I would say start learning the notes and then let it marinate for a long time. Let's say it took you 2 months to learn all of the notes, then I would be listening to it, studying the score, recording yourself and listening, going to teacher with every now now and then for a few more months (maybe even a year, who knows with these things?). After all of that, I would say that you would be ready to start performing it. With each performance it will get more and more settled, and eventually, it will truly be your own.

Donald Lee III


Donald Lee III
BM '16 James Madison University
MM '18 Cincinnati Conservatory of Music


#2063541 - 04/12/13 03:07 PM Re: Chopin 4th Ballade [Re: hopinmad]  
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Originally Posted by hopinmad
...my favourite two measures I think are measures 51-52.

Ah yes. One of the places where Chopin shows his contrapuntal genius.


Regards,

Polyphonist
#2063557 - 04/12/13 03:34 PM Re: Chopin 4th Ballade [Re: Mark_C]  
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by Auntie Lynn
It takes 20 minutes to play....

.....twice grin


(Actually that would usually be more like 21-22 minutes....)


Once... if you're modern-day Pogorelich.

#2063560 - 04/12/13 03:39 PM Re: Chopin 4th Ballade [Re: JoelW]  
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Originally Posted by JoelW
Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by Auntie Lynn
It takes 20 minutes to play....

.....twice grin


(Actually that would usually be more like 21-22 minutes....)


Once... if you're modern-day Pogorelich.

Did he ever play it? wink

By the way, we should start a Chopin Ballade group, for myself and other Balladiacs (is that a word? wink ). Who's up for it? smile


Regards,

Polyphonist
#2063572 - 04/12/13 03:54 PM Re: Chopin 4th Ballade [Re: Polyphonist]  
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Originally Posted by Polyphonist
Originally Posted by JoelW
Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by Auntie Lynn
It takes 20 minutes to play....

.....twice grin


(Actually that would usually be more like 21-22 minutes....)


Once... if you're modern-day Pogorelich.

Did he ever play it? wink

By the way, we should start a Chopin Ballade group, for myself and other Balladiacs (is that a word? wink ). Who's up for it? smile


Anything Chopin, I'm in. ha

What exactly is a 'ballade group'?




#2063575 - 04/12/13 03:56 PM Re: Chopin 4th Ballade [Re: JoelW]  
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Originally Posted by JoelW

Anything Chopin, I'm in. ha

What exactly is a 'ballade group'?


A private forum to discuss the ballades. I've invited you to it. I will also invite anyone who is interested: just post here or PM me. smile


Regards,

Polyphonist
#2063629 - 04/12/13 05:20 PM Re: Chopin 4th Ballade [Re: hopinmad]  
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You should also have invited me! This is my ballade thread! laugh


Patience's the best teacher, and time the best critic. - F.F.Chopin
#2063634 - 04/12/13 05:27 PM Re: Chopin 4th Ballade [Re: hopinmad]  
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Originally Posted by hopinmad
You should also have invited me! This is my ballade thread! laugh


and I bet you're hopinmad !!!! grin


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#2063646 - 04/12/13 06:03 PM Re: Chopin 4th Ballade [Re: hopinmad]  
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I didn't start the private message 'thread', but is there a way I could invite you guys? Poly isn't on.

#2063720 - 04/12/13 09:29 PM Re: Chopin 4th Ballade [Re: hopinmad]  
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Sorry, I had to log off earlier. Hopinmad, I thought a feature existed that didn't; I guess I can't add people to the thread. Maybe we should just make it a public regular thread in the forum. Sorry about that. mad


Regards,

Polyphonist
#2063723 - 04/12/13 09:35 PM Re: Chopin 4th Ballade [Re: Polyphonist]  
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Originally Posted by Polyphonist
Sorry, I had to log off earlier. Hopinmad, I thought a feature existed that didn't; I guess I can't add people to the thread. Maybe we should just make it a public regular thread in the forum. Sorry about that. mad


Go for it. It seems more sensible actually. Instead of having to be invited, anyone can pop right in and say what they want.

#2063732 - 04/12/13 09:47 PM Re: Chopin 4th Ballade [Re: hopinmad]  
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Okay. Sounds good.


Regards,

Polyphonist
#2063813 - 04/13/13 01:09 AM Re: Chopin 4th Ballade [Re: hopinmad]  
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It's tough, but it's probably best to learn it early and then have it grow inside of you as you mature.


Working on:
Chopin - Nocturne op. 48 no.1
Debussy - Images Book II

#2063853 - 04/13/13 03:58 AM Re: Chopin 4th Ballade [Re: hopinmad]  
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About a month ago somebody mentioned Richter and Chopin's ballade 4. and I did a google search and found the youtube of it. Thanks for keep the thread public because it is already very interesting. As a beginner hanging out in a thread like this and reading the posts is an awesome education on so many levels. Thanks.

#2064144 - 04/13/13 05:29 PM Re: Chopin 4th Ballade [Re: Auntie Lynn]  
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Originally Posted by Auntie Lynn
It takes 20 minutes to play, two years to learn and 20 years to mature. If you stay with it, it will be one of the most rewarding efforts of your life...

Mwah!


Just in my 2nd year now. So far i got until about bar 167.

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