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As great as Chopin is, I think he is way over discussed on PW compared to other great composers.

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
As great as Chopin is, I think he is way over discussed on PW compared to other great composers.



What proportion of the discussion about various composers would you think would be appropriate for Chopin on a piano forum?

25%? 10%? 5%?. Should be an easy question for a mathematician to answer.

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That performance by Kate Liu is indeed mesmerizing. Thanks for sharing. I also enjoy Eric Lu's performance: https://youtu.be/BXAMreHXUBA. He's the recent winner of this year's Leed;s Competition.

This Ballade to me is the complete symbiosis or distillation of all that Chopin is, note for note.. The Ballade No. 4, along with the Barcarolle, the Polonaise Fantasie, the Nocturne Opus 62. No 1, are Chopin at the height of his powers.


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Here is a virtuoso rendition of the 4th Ballade by Horowitz:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_QXz8-rQ2hE

Great performance!

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Here is yet another very interesting performance:



Her floating hands look almost effortless! grin

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Originally Posted by ycdp88
Here is yet another very interesting performance:



Her floating hands look almost effortless! grin


+1 thumb



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Interesting thread. I have quite a few recording of this masterpiece. My favorite has been a mesmerizing one by Richter which he plays as if in a dream. I surely miss him. That said there are quite a number of fine performances out there and I really enjoyed Kate Liu mentioned above. I put this one down to see reactions from this group: https://youtu.be/SGnUHpsvfQY.
This is right after playing the previous three. Certainly outstanding technique but too rushed. Not a recording I would find myself going back to often, unlike Richter, Zimmerman, Cortot and now Liu. It certainly is exciting though and works well in a concert setting.

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Originally Posted by kbrod1
Certainly outstanding technique but too rushed.


+1

It is this comment that truly separates many of the lesser performances from the better ones as I have found that when one is not "rushing" the playing then everything sounds to be more in control and the music itself benefits, too.

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Originally Posted by Mark_C
I also consider it one of the great masterpieces. I agree with everything that has been said about it in the above posts.


@MarkC:

There is absolutely no doubt it is one of the best compositions ever penned by Chopin.

Another recording:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SgxrVoqVZpg

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One of my favorites: Khatia Buniatishvili. I love the way she brings out some of the inner voices.


"Playing the piano is my greatest joy...period."......JP
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@Mark_C:

Here is some very rare (yet excellent) footage of Richter playing the coda section of the 4th Ballade:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tn87swS8WAU

Note how the low C bass note is held that precedes the pianissimo chords at the 30 sec. mark!

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Originally Posted by jazzyprof
One of my favorites: Khatia Buniatishvili. I love the way she brings out some of the inner voices.


Such playing!



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Wanted to add the following recording here that is certainly performed quite masterfully:



Still working on my own mastery of this truly great composition of Chopin which may be his greatest masterpiece.

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an argument for the opposition: as nearly every one says/thinks/finds that the 4th Ballade is (one of) the best piece(s) for piano ever written, and that it's (one of) the highlight(s) of Chopin's oeuvre, I like to have some second thoughts. It's a beautiful piece, certainly, and it's by Chopin, certainly, but it is the 4th of a series, of which the 1st is an absolute stunner, how original is that one!?! The 3rd sonata overblows the 4th Ballade in depth and length and stylistic/formalistic cunning, the Polonaise-Fantaisie is on an even higher level, I dare say and op.65 is even more looking forward, Chopin was going to be more polyphonic and experimental after op. 52, let's keep all those pieces high in our esteem and not forget the beguiling yet so modern Barcarolle: that piece is my '4th Ballade'.


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When I think of making a short list of Chopin's greatest works, the Fm Ballade is always the first piece I think of to include. My list of his greatest works (musically) in no particular implied quality order is:

Ballades Fm, Ab, Gm
Scherzos Bbm, Bm, C#m
Polonaise-Fantasie
Polonaises F#m, Ab
Barcarolle
Sonatas Bbm, Bm
Impromptu Ab
Fantasy-Impromptu C#m
Nocturne Bbm (Op 9 #1)
Grande Valse Brillante Eb
Etudes 10/3, 10/12


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Dolce sfogato: Terrific post, as are many others here.
But about this part:

Originally Posted by dolce sfogato
.... the Polonaise-Fantaisie is on an even higher level....

I love how you talk up these other Chopin pieces, so wonderfully, but I wouldn't say the Polonaise-Fantaisie is on a higher level. (BTW I appreciate your spelling Fantaisie with that 'i' after the 'a' ha -- most people don't. It's not like the 'German' way is wrong, but I'm partial to the French way.)
I'd say that the Polonaise-Fantaisie is....how to put it, more "experimental," and we might say it's more forward-looking (which is a thing you said about the cello sonata), but, on a higher level than the 4th Ballade?
Subjective, of course, but I have to say, no way.

I'm hard pressed to say that much of anything is on a higher level than the F minor Ballade.

Quote
I dare say and op.65 is even more looking forward...

Well really I don't see this either!

Quote
and not forget the beguiling yet so modern Barcarolle: that piece is my '4th Ballade'.

Indeed I wouldn't expect anyone with a user name like yours to miss the Barcarolle in such a post. grin

While I consider the Ballade a "greater piece," the Barcarolle is far more of a personal favorite, even a personal gravity, in the sense of feeling drawn to it.

I have never felt I couldn't do without the Ballade.
There have been many moments where I felt I couldn't do without the Barcarolle.

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Originally Posted by Mark_C
While I consider the Ballade a "greater piece," the Barcarolle is far more of a personal favorite, even a personal gravity, in the sense of feeling drawn to it.

I have never felt I couldn't do without the Ballade.
There have been many moments where I felt I couldn't do without the Barcarolle.

@Mark_C:

While there is perhaps no ONE greatest composition of Chopin -- we all have our chosen "personal favorite" pieces as you say -- and, for myself there will always invariably be the following top FIVE pieces:

Sonata No. 3 / Ballade No. 4 / Fantasy in F-minor / Scherzo No. 3 / Barcarolle

Note that I really cannot put the above works into any particular ORDER as they are all equal masterpieces in my opinion just as one cannot really compare various fruits -- i.e., apples / oranges / apricots / peaches / plums (etc) -- as they are all very GOOD and they are all very DIFFERENT from one another!

That being said will be very happy when the rebuilt M&H BB grand finally arrives as it should give me yet greater dynamic control in playing these masterpieces. Here is the new grand purchase:

https://www.atlanticmusiccenter.com/product/mason-hamlin-bb/

Screen shots of above website listing and description:

https://imgur.com/a/uZhLUyL

Wouldn't life certainly be rather dull without music?

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Here is yet another great performance of the 4th Ballade:



As it is very interesting to watch the "live" audience as
they are intently following the playing!

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
As great as Chopin is, I think he is way over discussed on PW compared to other great composers.

Now you got me curious - what do you think of Liszt?

I certainly prefer Liszt over Chopin, although Chopin was certainly the first pianistic composer and was a great inspiration to Liszt after he died. (E.g. The two polonaises, the two ballades, the berceuse etc.)

If I've disrespected Chopin by saying this, I'm sorry. But certainly this is not the worst of my (currently worthless) opinions.

Last edited by iaintagreatpianist; 03/12/21 09:14 PM.

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
As great as Chopin is, I think he is way over discussed on PW compared to other great composers.
I think he's underdiscussed.

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