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#2070360 - 04/24/13 11:20 PM Chopin Sonata No 3 in B minor, Op 58  
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A thread for discussion of this amazing work. Rather than resurrect an old one, I created this new thread.

Hoping for participation from other avid Chopin enthusiasts such as Mark_C, who has been active on these types of threads in the past.
In one thread I read, he showed me something I'd never noticed before about the piece: that the descending B major RH figure (D#-D-B-A#) at the end of the last movement is an inversion of the F#-G-A#-B theme at the beginning of that movement. (And a retrograde too, I know.) Thanks for that Mark. smile

Anyway, enough of my talking. Let the discussion begin! smile


Regards,

Polyphonist
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#2070362 - 04/24/13 11:42 PM Re: Chopin Sonata No 3 in B minor, Op 58 [Re: Polyphonist]  
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One of my favorite pieces in the world. I wouldn't know where to start in talking about it, so probably I shouldn't. ha

Originally Posted by Polyphonist
....that the descending B major RH figure (D#-D-B-A#) at the end of the last movement is an inversion of the F#-G-A#-B theme at the beginning of that movement. (And a retrograde too, I know.) Thanks for that....

Thanks for noticing! I've never seen or heard this mentioned anywhere except when I've talked about it. ha

I discovered it sort of by accident. When I was practicing it, I noticed that the 'physical grouping' of that right hand passage is different from the rhythmic grouping (this is often the case with Chopin's passagework); the rhythmic groupings are the obvious 6-note groups, which begin on each strong beat, but the 'physical groupings' are those 4-note groups, which begin on offbeats. With passages like that, my head and fingers can jumble each other unless I drill it into myself what's going on, so, I started practicing it by thinking in terms of those 4-note groups, and it felt like the intervals were somehow similar to the intervals of the melody. It didn't take long for me to then realize that the intervals were more than similar: those 4-note groups were exactly the same as the 2nd-through-5th notes of the melody, only upside down. Or backwards. (i.e. BOTH. They're both upside-down and backwards versions of the melody. It might seem at first blush that those are just the same thing but they're not.) And I couldn't get over the subtle genius of that -- basing a final passagework flourish on a disguised, upside-down-and-backwards version of notes of the melody.

Did Chopin know it consciously? I say absolutely.
Do our ears hear it even if we don't realize the connection? I would say "sort of at some level." smile

#2070366 - 04/24/13 11:46 PM Re: Chopin Sonata No 3 in B minor, Op 58 [Re: Mark_C]  
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
One of my favorite pieces in the world. I wouldn't know where to start in talking about it, so probably I shouldn't. ha

But then we will never get anywhere! ha

Okay, I'll start with bars 76-87, and their counterpart at the end of the movement. It's one of those passages that always reduces me to tears...enough said. You either "get" those bars or you don't. wink


Regards,

Polyphonist
#2070368 - 04/24/13 11:53 PM Re: Chopin Sonata No 3 in B minor, Op 58 [Re: Polyphonist]  
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Originally Posted by Polyphonist
....Okay, I'll start with bars 76-87, and their counterpart at the end of the movement. It's one of those passages that always reduces me to tears...enough said.

I counted bars to see if that's the passage I thought it was -- and it is. I'm with you. I consider it to be maybe the most beautiful, most special "goodbye" passage in all music.

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#2070369 - 04/24/13 11:56 PM Re: Chopin Sonata No 3 in B minor, Op 58 [Re: Mark_C]  
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by Polyphonist
....Okay, I'll start with bars 76-87, and their counterpart at the end of the movement. It's one of those passages that always reduces me to tears...enough said.

I counted bars to see if that's the passage I thought it was -- and it is. I'm with you. I consider it to be maybe the most beautiful, most special "goodbye" passage in all music.

I have a feeling we would get along quite well if we happened to meet. ha


Regards,

Polyphonist
#2070375 - 04/25/13 12:05 AM Re: Chopin Sonata No 3 in B minor, Op 58 [Re: Polyphonist]  
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For me, it is the greatest piece of music ever written for the piano.


#2070376 - 04/25/13 12:07 AM Re: Chopin Sonata No 3 in B minor, Op 58 [Re: Polyphonist]  
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Originally Posted by Polyphonist
Originally Posted by Mark_C
One of my favorite pieces in the world. I wouldn't know where to start in talking about it, so probably I shouldn't. ha

But then we will never get anywhere! ha

Okay, I'll start with bars 76-87, and their counterpart at the end of the movement. It's one of those passages that always reduces me to tears...enough said. You either "get" those bars or you don't. wink


Can someone tell me the time in a Youtube recording? I don't have the score.

#2070379 - 04/25/13 12:10 AM Re: Chopin Sonata No 3 in B minor, Op 58 [Re: Polyphonist]  
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Originally Posted by Polyphonist
Okay, I'll start with bars 76-87, and their counterpart at the end of the movement. It's one of those passages that always reduces me to tears...enough said. You either "get" those bars or you don't. wink


I always thought of that section as a cousin of a section of the 1st Ballade with a slightly similar melody; here it's all more concentrated and pure.

For me (as for many others I imagine), the crowning achievement of this sonata is the E major middle section of the 3rd movement. I went through several personal iterations of this section when I was 16 or so and got to know the piece.

My father had told me how great this section is, so I was excited to hear it in concert (I think it was Browning). But my first impression was disappointment: I thought: oh, that's just a I-vi-IV-I chord change. How simple! (I was really into reducing music, especially pop songs, to their chord sequences at the time.)

The second time I heard it in concert (Pollini maybe), not only was I utterly transfixed by that middle section, I concluded I had been completely wrong about the chord sequence that started it. Clearly this wasn't anything as banal as the I-vi-IV that begins so many 50's songs! My analytic mind was at rest.

Later, I realized that both were right: it was that sequence, *and* it was completely spell-binding. And that's how it still feels to me today.


-Jason


Beethoven op.110, Chopin op.27/2, Liszt Vallée d'Obermann
#2070380 - 04/25/13 12:10 AM Re: Chopin Sonata No 3 in B minor, Op 58 [Re: Polyphonist]  
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Joel: It's the passage at the end of the exposition. Here's Argerich (I'm not expressing my views on this recording, it's just the first one I found): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhPGAzRU840 at 2:35.

Last edited by Polyphonist; 04/25/13 12:13 AM.

Regards,

Polyphonist
#2070383 - 04/25/13 12:14 AM Re: Chopin Sonata No 3 in B minor, Op 58 [Re: beet31425]  
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Originally Posted by beet31425
I always thought of that section as a cousin of a section of the 1st Ballade with a slightly similar melody; here it's all more concentrated and pure....

Thanks for that! I know what part(s) of the ballade you mean, although it took a little thought, mainly I think because I was stunned that there might be a similarity between sections of these two pieces and it took me a moment to get over the stun. grin
You're exactly right. This connection had never occurred to me.

#2070393 - 04/25/13 12:24 AM Re: Chopin Sonata No 3 in B minor, Op 58 [Re: Polyphonist]  
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It is very hard to achieve continuity in the scherzo due to the speed. Parts of the 1st and 4th movements are also very difficult.


Regards,

Polyphonist
#2070394 - 04/25/13 12:28 AM Re: Chopin Sonata No 3 in B minor, Op 58 [Re: Polyphonist]  
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Originally Posted by Polyphonist
Joel: It's the passage at the end of the exposition. Here's Argerich (I'm not expressing my views on this recording, it's just the first one I found): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhPGAzRU840 at 2:35.


Ahh, yes! The end of the exposition and its counterpart, which is even more beautiful than the first because it resolves with no tension. This is definitely the reason why I love the first movement the most. Actually, the first movement was the hardest for me to understand at first. "What the heck is this?!", I thought. I knew it was very complex but I also knew from my experience with his other late works that late Chopin, though harder to understand at first, reveals itself in ways that his earlier works don't.

#2070396 - 04/25/13 12:37 AM Re: Chopin Sonata No 3 in B minor, Op 58 [Re: Polyphonist]  
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Love the piece. I tend to be a stickler for repeats, but this is one instance (first movement of course) where it could safely be given a miss. I think Chopin planted it there more as a matter of convention, and indeed, we have had some discussion concerning this issue in the past.


Jason
#2070397 - 04/25/13 12:39 AM Re: Chopin Sonata No 3 in B minor, Op 58 [Re: Polyphonist]  
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And I've seen you hold forth on it before, argerichfan. ha








I agree.


Regards,

Polyphonist
#2070399 - 04/25/13 01:02 AM Re: Chopin Sonata No 3 in B minor, Op 58 [Re: Polyphonist]  
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Originally Posted by Polyphonist
I agree.

Vindicated!

With Beethoven, I am unapologetically greedy for ALL his repeats, yet if Carl Maria von Weber (who we all know adored Beethoven's music wink ) put me on the musical torture rack and forced me to recant, I might consent to the elimination in the first movement of the Eroica, but otherwise I stand my ground!


Jason
#2070462 - 04/25/13 06:10 AM Re: Chopin Sonata No 3 in B minor, Op 58 [Re: argerichfan]  
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I've always preferred his Op.58 to his Funeral March Sonata: IMO it's more of a real Sonata, more properly developed, grander and more exciting - how could anyone resist standing up and cheering if the pianist is able to throw caution to the wind in the finale, and maintain the drive right through to the final bars and still do the crescendo to the exultant final chords? grin

My most memorable hearing of this work was when Zimerman performed it in London soon after winning the Chopin Competition - his change of tone color for the sudden modulation into E flat major (from D flat) in the first movement development (I can't find any performance of his on Youtube, but Pogorelich comes closest to illustrate what I mean : from 5:42 on http://youtu.be/jiwVhJf4QaU ), which brought a lump to my throat by its sheer beauty - made me realise that even barely out of his teens, this was indeed a true master pianist. And none else I've heard has matched him there, or in the rest of the work: his ferocious drive and power in the finale makes others pale in comparison. Too many pianists let the tension slacken here, when each reiteration of the main theme should build up on the previous one.



"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
#2070532 - 04/25/13 09:00 AM Re: Chopin Sonata No 3 in B minor, Op 58 [Re: Polyphonist]  
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I couldn't choose between the 2 mature pianosonatas, op.35 is poem of death, op.58 a poem of life. The 2nd sonata is compact, somewhat austere in it's means and expression, the 3rd sonata is a ramble and lush in it's scope and technique. They are both at opposite ends of Chopin's mood-spectrum, one couldn't miss either. It is, for me, really a question of what mood I am in personally to prefer to play/listen to one of them, but I am thankful that Chopin wrote both.


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#2070552 - 04/25/13 09:39 AM Re: Chopin Sonata No 3 in B minor, Op 58 [Re: dolce sfogato]  
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Originally Posted by dolce sfogato
I couldn't choose between the 2 mature pianosonatas, op.35 is poem of death, op.58 a poem of life. The 2nd sonata is compact, somewhat austere in it's means and expression, the 3rd sonata is a ramble and lush in it's scope and technique. They are both at opposite ends of Chopin's mood-spectrum, one couldn't miss either. It is, for me, really a question of what mood I am in personally to prefer to play/listen to one of them, but I am thankful that Chopin wrote both.


Exactly.

And to contribute my own two cents: I REALLY like the finale of the 3rd sonata laugh

#2070568 - 04/25/13 10:05 AM Re: Chopin Sonata No 3 in B minor, Op 58 [Re: Orange Soda King]  
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Originally Posted by Orange Soda King
Originally Posted by dolce sfogato
I couldn't choose between the 2 mature pianosonatas, op.35 is poem of death, op.58 a poem of life. The 2nd sonata is compact, somewhat austere in it's means and expression, the 3rd sonata is a ramble and lush in it's scope and technique. They are both at opposite ends of Chopin's mood-spectrum, one couldn't miss either. It is, for me, really a question of what mood I am in personally to prefer to play/listen to one of them, but I am thankful that Chopin wrote both.


Exactly.

And to contribute my own two cents: I REALLY like the finale of the 3rd sonata laugh

More than the Largo? Tut-tut...young people. grin ha


Regards,

Polyphonist
#2070606 - 04/25/13 10:56 AM Re: Chopin Sonata No 3 in B minor, Op 58 [Re: Orange Soda King]  
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Originally Posted by Orange Soda King
Originally Posted by dolce sfogato
I couldn't choose between the 2 mature pianosonatas, op.35 is poem of death, op.58 a poem of life. The 2nd sonata is compact, somewhat austere in it's means and expression, the 3rd sonata is a ramble and lush in it's scope and technique. They are both at opposite ends of Chopin's mood-spectrum, one couldn't miss either. It is, for me, really a question of what mood I am in personally to prefer to play/listen to one of them, but I am thankful that Chopin wrote both.


Exactly.

And to contribute my own two cents: I REALLY like the finale of the 3rd sonata laugh


Yes! William Kapell's performance of the 3rd is one of the greats!

#2070610 - 04/25/13 10:58 AM Re: Chopin Sonata No 3 in B minor, Op 58 [Re: Polyphonist]  
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A few years ago I gave myself the choice of doing the Liszt Sonata, or Chopin's 3rd, and chose the Liszt. I think I'll go back and do the Chopin sometime soon...it's too good to pass up.


Working on:
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Debussy - Images Book II

#2071033 - 04/25/13 09:30 PM Re: Chopin Sonata No 3 in B minor, Op 58 [Re: Polyphonist]  
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So which is a better piece-the Liszt or the Chopin?






(Hint: don't try to answer that question, you would make enemies of half the users on here whichever one you picked. grin They're two of the greatest pieces ever composed.)


Regards,

Polyphonist
#2071044 - 04/25/13 09:42 PM Re: Chopin Sonata No 3 in B minor, Op 58 [Re: Polyphonist]  
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Originally Posted by Polyphonist
So which is a better piece-the Liszt or the Chopin?

Easy one, without any slightest shadow of a doubt!

Quote
(Hint: don't try to answer that question, you would make enemies of half the users....

Oh yeah? grin

#2071060 - 04/25/13 09:55 PM Re: Chopin Sonata No 3 in B minor, Op 58 [Re: Polyphonist]  
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So what are the categories for evaluating pieces of music again? grin


Regards,

Polyphonist
#2071068 - 04/25/13 10:01 PM Re: Chopin Sonata No 3 in B minor, Op 58 [Re: Mark_C]  
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by Polyphonist
So which is a better piece-the Liszt or the Chopin?

Easy one, without any slightest shadow of a doubt!


Indeed! The Liszt! grin


#2071072 - 04/25/13 10:04 PM Re: Chopin Sonata No 3 in B minor, Op 58 [Re: pianojosh23]  
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Originally Posted by pianojosh23
Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by Polyphonist
So which is a better piece-the Liszt or the Chopin?

Easy one, without any slightest shadow of a doubt!


Indeed! The Liszt! grin



It's not even close! (With the opposite answer! smile )

-J


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#2071076 - 04/25/13 10:06 PM Re: Chopin Sonata No 3 in B minor, Op 58 [Re: pianojosh23]  
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Originally Posted by pianojosh23
Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by Polyphonist
So which is a better piece-the Liszt or the Chopin?

Easy one, without any slightest shadow of a doubt!

Indeed! The Liszt! grin

Uh.........uh............ ha

#2071078 - 04/25/13 10:11 PM Re: Chopin Sonata No 3 in B minor, Op 58 [Re: beet31425]  
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Originally Posted by beet31425
Originally Posted by pianojosh23
Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by Polyphonist
So which is a better piece-the Liszt or the Chopin?

Easy one, without any slightest shadow of a doubt!


Indeed! The Liszt! grin



It's not even close! (With the opposite answer! smile )

-J


It doesn't really mean anything, other than an opinion, but I might as well name drop as I feel ambushed here.

Stephen Hough: "The Liszt Sonata is probably the greatest single piano work of the Romantic era – it is a symphony for the piano containing the world. It’s a piece of enormous emotional depth and a great, broad human spirit. I never fail to find it moving."

Amen, Steve. grin

Last edited by pianojosh23; 04/25/13 10:11 PM.
#2071080 - 04/25/13 10:14 PM Re: Chopin Sonata No 3 in B minor, Op 58 [Re: Polyphonist]  
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There's no point arguing about it. You will never convince me to be wrong, nor I you to be right. ha






What was that we were saying about an opinion?


PS: Why did you write Hough's last name and then change it to his first? wink


Regards,

Polyphonist
#2071082 - 04/25/13 10:15 PM Re: Chopin Sonata No 3 in B minor, Op 58 [Re: pianojosh23]  
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Originally Posted by pianojosh23
...."The Liszt Sonata is probably the greatest single piano work of the Romantic era....

Dunno.....in that case the Chopin must be the greatest married piano work or something. ha

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