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Posted By: loveschopintoomuch Is Chopin the Greatest? - 04/06/06 06:36 PM
Hello Everyone:

I am new to the "Corner," and I was pleasantly surprised to discover, quite by accident, that such a forum existed. I can't think of a more worthy site than one that concerns itself with classical music for the piano. Well, I suppose there are a few more worthy, like world peace and global warming, etc.

My question: Do any of you share the same opinion as I…that Chopin was the be-all and end-all of composers for the piano? This is not to exclude others who have made magnificent and exquisite contributions. However, for all-around, genius, I believe he has no equal. Yes, I know that other than his two soulful concertos, he didn't compose for the orchestra. But, the reasons for this are many. First and foremost, he considered the orchestras of his day to be concerned only with "loud noise." The louder the better. And how he hated noise. Perhaps why he detested Beethoven although did employ some of his concepts into his own works. Secondly, he loved the human voice, especially in the operatic form, and he wished to duplicate it in his works. Last, but far from least, he could create an orchestra of his own...with his left hand, as anyone who has attempted to play his Polonaise in A flat, for example, could attest. Without his influence, Ravel and Debussy would not have been the composers that they were. That Nietzsche was quoted as saying (and I am paraphrasing here) that after hearing Chopin, there wasn’t any other music he wanted to hear. That Artur Rubinstein once said that Chopin was the first composer who made the piano sing. Finally, his music is the most recognized throughout the whole world, even to those who know nothing of the classics. So, do you agree? If so, why? If not, please feel free to let me know. Again, I am very interested in what you have to say because from what I have read on this forum, I know most of you are very intelligent and knowledgeable, and I value your opinion. Thanks.

Oh, just one caveat, whatever your argument, I trust you will please address the music and not the man. I get very tired of reading what a wimp he was. (Some wimp...to create those ballades, etudes and polonaises.) Yes, according to many sources, he was supercilious, egotistical, and judgmental, among many other things. Hey, Beethoven was a brute, Liszt a womanizer, Schumann was bipolar, Tchaikovsky…well, a sad and tortured soul. Who cares! Perhaps and even because of their “personality disorders” they were driven to create the music they did. And how grateful we are to them because of their passion.

--------------------
Time is the best critic; practice the best teacher. Chopin
Posted By: rockpeter Re: Is Chopin the Greatest? - 04/06/06 07:16 PM
Since I started playing piano a year ago I began to hear more of chopin, mozart, beethoven and so many others. Although there is so much out there I do like the works of Chopin more than any other pianist composer so far. Probably because he also composed during the romantic period. A period I enjoy more than others.

Peter
Posted By: pianojerome Re: Is Chopin the Greatest? - 04/06/06 07:20 PM
Personally, I would not include Chopin in my list of favorite composers. His music is wonderful, but maybe not necessarily my favorite (and I have listened to his polonaises, mazurkas, waltzes, nocturnes, concertos, sonatas, etudes, ballades, preludes, fantasies, scherzos, smaller works, the cello sonata...)

That's not to say I don't like his music; on the contrary, I love a lot of his music very much, but I much prefer composers such as J.S. Bach, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Bartok...


(by the way, this is the non-classical pianist corner; you might like to check out the "classical" pianist corner: http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/ubb/ultimatebb.php?/forum/2.html )
Posted By: Bob Muir Re: Is Chopin the Greatest? - 04/06/06 07:27 PM
Yeah, I think you're in the wrong forum.
Posted By: 8ude Re: Is Chopin the Greatest? - 04/06/06 07:32 PM
No, Muhammed Ali is the greatest... smile

Seriously, Chopin was truly an incredible composer for the piano, but I wouldn't call him the be all and end all of piano music as that marginalizes some of the excellent contributions by other composers. Mozart, Beethoven, Liszt, Schumann, Brahms, Debussy, and Bartok (to name just a few) all made significant contributions not only to the piano repertory, but also to piano technique and compositional styles. I also find that Chopin tends to have some trouble in the larger forms - for instance his sonatas and concerti, while they contain great music, sometimes leave me feeling a little flat as far as the form goes. And as you mentioned, his orchestral writing leaves a bit to be desired. Whatever his motivations for not writing for orchestra, that definitely wasn't his strong suit.

I find that every composer has their weakness - while they excel in certain areas, they may be weak in other areas. As for having the total package, I'd say Chopin is somewhat middle of the road - he excelled in piano writing, he lacked elsewhere such as form, instrumentation, and orchestration. Looking solely at his piano output, though, he is perhaps unparalleled in his genius for writing for his instrument.
Posted By: apple* Re: Is Chopin the Greatest? - 04/06/06 07:55 PM
Quote
Originally posted by 8ude:
Looking solely at his piano output, though, he is perhaps unparalleled in his genius for writing for his instrument. [/QB]
exactly - he totally conquered the piano..

I feel he was bound by his psyche and in an emotional rut of sorts... he is definitely one of my top 3 favorite composers. I wish he had more anger and joy in his very self.
Posted By: pianojerome Re: Is Chopin the Greatest? - 04/06/06 08:08 PM
Quote
Originally posted by apple*:
Quote
Originally posted by 8ude:
Looking solely at his piano output, though, he is perhaps unparalleled in his genius for writing for his instrument.
exactly - totally conquered the piano..

I feel he was bound by his psyche... an emotional rut of sorts. [/QB]
What do you mean by looking at his piano output and unparalleled?

Do you mean size? Beethoven wrote 32 Sonatas, and Haydn wrote more than 50; Chopin (as far as we know) wrote only 3. Mozart wrote around 25 piano concertos; Chopin (as far as we know) wrote only 2. Brahms and Chopin both wrote 4 Ballades. Chopin was one of numerous composers who wrote 24 Preludes. Strauss wrote hundereds of waltzes, and Chopin wrote around 20 of them. Bartok wrote 6 books of Microcosms, Grieg transcribed dozens of folk songs, and Mendelssohn wrote 49 Songs Without Words.

Do you mean influence? Beethoven's 32 Piano Sonatas are a cornerstone of the piano repertoire. Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier has been hailed as the "Bible" of the piano, an essential part of training as a classical pianist. When students audition at music schools, they are often required to play a Prelude and Fugue from the Well-Tempered Clavier and a Beethoven sonata... and any substantial romantic work (by any romantic composer) and any substantial 20th century piece (by any 20th century composer).

Do you mean quality? As was pointed out by the original poster, Chopin was only one of very many great composers for the piano. Just take again the previous two examples of Beethoven's 32 Sonatas and Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier, but those are only two examples of extraodinarily high quality music written for the piano.


Yes, Chopin's music is great - but it's a bit too far, I think, to say that it is the be-all and and end-all of piano literature.
Posted By: 8ude Re: Is Chopin the Greatest? - 04/06/06 08:14 PM
Quote
Originally posted by pianojerome:
Quote
Originally posted by apple*:
[b]
Quote
Originally posted by 8ude:
Looking solely at his piano output, though, he is perhaps unparalleled in his genius for writing for his instrument.
exactly - totally conquered the piano..

I feel he was bound by his psyche... an emotional rut of sorts. [/b]
What do you mean by looking at his piano output and unparalleled?

Do you mean size? Beethoven wrote 32 Sonatas, and Haydn wrote more than 50; Chopin (as far as we know) wrote only 3. Mozart wrote around 25 piano concertos; Chopin (as far as we know) wrote only 2. Brahms and Chopin both wrote 4 Ballades. Chopin was one of numerous composers who wrote 24 Preludes. Strauss wrote hundereds of waltzes, and Chopin wrote around 20 of them. Bartok wrote 6 books of Microcosms, Grieg transcribed dozens of folk songs, and Mendelssohn wrote 49 Songs Without Words.

Do you mean influence? Beethoven's 32 Piano Sonatas are a cornerstone of the piano repertoire. Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier has been hailed as the "Bible" of the piano, an essential part of training as a classical pianist.

Do you mean quality? As you said yourself, Chopin was only one of very many great composers for the piano. Just take again the previous two examples of Beethoven's 32 Sonatas and Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier, but those are only two examples of extraodinarily high quality music written for the piano.


Yes, Chopin's music is great - but it's a bit too far, I think, to say that it is the be-all and and end-all of piano literature. [/QB]
I agree with you PJ - quantity means nothing. Haydn wrote tons of symphonies, I don't particularly like any of them. Strauss wrote a gazillion waltzes, they pretty much all suck. It's all about quality, not quantity.

What I was trying to get across is that that in my opinion, my estimation of his skills as a composer go down when looking at his "total package" as a composer. If you only limit your view to his piano works, my estimation of his opus of work goes up immensely.

And you're right, as far as the influence his works had, they were very influential, but no less so than some of your other examples (i.e. Beethoven Sonatas, Bach WTC, Liszt HRs)

Any discussion trying to debate why one composer is "the best" is bound to degenerate into senselessness - composers don't exist in vacuums, they are all interrelated and you can't just isolate one composer to objectively call him/her "the best". Making a subjective claim that a composer is your favorite is fine, but I can't see any way to really quantify someone as the best.
Posted By: apple* Re: Is Chopin the Greatest? - 04/06/06 08:37 PM
Quote
Originally posted by Bob Muir:
Yeah, I think you're in the wrong forum.
I think what he is meaning to say that there is a Pianist's Corner with people who think alot about Chopin.

here
Posted By: rockpeter Re: Is Chopin the Greatest? - 04/06/06 08:56 PM
How could he write more ?

His music is so difficult to play that he probably needed to practise so much. :p

Peter
Posted By: MahlerAdagio Re: Is Chopin the Greatest? - 04/07/06 02:13 AM
Quote
Originally posted by pianojerome:
Originally posted by apple*:
Yes, Chopin's music is great - but it's a bit too far, I think, to say that it is the be-all and and end-all of piano literature.
I totally disagree. I don't think a half mile is too far at all.
Posted By: Arabesque Re: Is Chopin the Greatest? - 04/07/06 03:12 PM
Rubinstein was very right about Chopin and another thing I agree with is that Chopin represents the passion and earnestness of youth more than any other composer. He has always been my favourite composer for the piano and I've met many young people who told me how much they liked Chopin. Chopin's many themes are the culmination of the Romantic period and the technical diversity pushes performers to the limit. But suprisingly he always wrote within the capabilities of a dedicated piano student and his scores are a joy to read. Actually Chopin has influence on jazz piano in many ways as does Debussy, Bach et al to anyone who's aware. So there is every reason to discuss Chopin here too I think.
Posted By: Bob Muir Re: Is Chopin the Greatest? - 04/07/06 04:34 PM
ok, discuss how Chopin influences jazz piano, but I think the non-classical forum is a silly place to discuss whether Chopin is the greatest composer of all time. ESPECIALLY since the OP posted the same $%#@!@ thread in multiple forums and fails to actually discuss anything after the initial post.

It *appears* the OP is either trolling or spamming.

Don't mind me, I'm just in a mood.
Posted By: das_klavier Re: Is Chopin the Greatest? - 04/07/06 04:41 PM
In my opinion, Chopin is the greatest composer of piano music. There are many reasons for my saying this, among them are
(i) the harmonic structure of his music (which is out of this world, with certain chords and chord progressions which are 'rediscovered' even today). Chopin had the ability to move seamlessly from 1 key to another (sometimes within 1 measure) with some pieces having a chord change at every beat. (Etude Op 25 No 9).
(ii) the beautiful (if sometimes un-singable) melodies he managed to incorporate into almost all his music (just listen to the beautiful melody in his Prelude Op 28 No 19, coming out amidst all the insane leaps everywhere)
(iii) all his endings!!! If there ever was someone who knew how to finish his pieces with aplomb, that person was Chopin. I can hardly name an ending of his that was unsatisfactory or boring. (Just listen to the endings of his Nocturnes - all of them different and very lovely)
Posted By: Phlebas Re: Is Chopin the Greatest? - 04/07/06 04:48 PM
Quote
Originally posted by pianojerome:
Quote
Originally posted by apple*:
[b]
Quote
Originally posted by 8ude:
Looking solely at his piano output, though, he is perhaps unparalleled in his genius for writing for his instrument.
exactly - totally conquered the piano..

I feel he was bound by his psyche... an emotional rut of sorts. [/b]
What do you mean by looking at his piano output and unparalleled?

Do you mean size? Beethoven wrote 32 Sonatas, and Haydn wrote more than 50; Chopin (as far as we know) wrote only 3. Mozart wrote around 25 piano concertos; Chopin (as far as we know) wrote only 2. Brahms and Chopin both wrote 4 Ballades. Chopin was one of numerous composers who wrote 24 Preludes. Strauss wrote hundereds of waltzes, and Chopin wrote around 20 of them. Bartok wrote 6 books of Microcosms, Grieg transcribed dozens of folk songs, and Mendelssohn wrote 49 Songs Without Words.

Do you mean influence? Beethoven's 32 Piano Sonatas are a cornerstone of the piano repertoire. Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier has been hailed as the "Bible" of the piano, an essential part of training as a classical pianist. When students audition at music schools, they are often required to play a Prelude and Fugue from the Well-Tempered Clavier and a Beethoven sonata... and any substantial romantic work (by any romantic composer) and any substantial 20th century piece (by any 20th century composer).

Do you mean quality? As was pointed out by the original poster, Chopin was only one of very many great composers for the piano. Just take again the previous two examples of Beethoven's 32 Sonatas and Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier, but those are only two examples of extraodinarily high quality music written for the piano.


Yes, Chopin's music is great - but it's a bit too far, I think, to say that it is the be-all and and end-all of piano literature. [/QB]
I think what they mean is Chopin had the most influence on piano technique and writing for the piano. I would agree with this.
Posted By: signa Re: Is Chopin the Greatest? - 04/07/06 04:57 PM
for my conclusion about Chopin's music: i wouldn't miss him that much without ever listening to his music again. but with Beethoven, i would miss a world.
Posted By: pianojazz Re: Is Chopin the Greatest? - 04/07/06 05:27 PM
Is Chopin the greatest? I guess it depends on who you ask and when you ask - but one thing is for sure: one can not study piano without encountering Chopin at some point. His contributions to piano literature are monumental and undisputed - 2nd only to JSB himself, and neck-and-neck with big lou (LVB) - just my opinion.
Posted By: Antonius Hamus Re: Is Chopin the Greatest? - 04/07/06 05:41 PM
I can easily live without Chopin's piano music (and have been doing so for some time), but not without Liszt's (whose influence was, by the way, greater than Chopin's in many ways), nor even Mozart's (who was, for Rubinstein, the greatest of them all). The reason: their music is much more fascinating than Chopin's.
Posted By: pianojerome Re: Is Chopin the Greatest? - 04/07/06 05:46 PM
Posted By: Phlebas Re: Is Chopin the Greatest? - 04/07/06 06:59 PM
Technique is what I'm talking about. What would be an example of Schoenberg's influence on piano technique? It's - relatively - minimal. Serial writing is a compositional technique. As far as 20th century goes, Bartok and Debussy would be much more influential regarding piano technique than Schoenberg.

As far as Chopin / Liszt goes. Chopin was the one who liberated piano technique, and Liszt built on that. They were both influential, but Chopin was more the innovator.

Performing without music goes back before Liszt. Clara Schumann is often thought of as the first performer to play without music. People memorozed long before that - Mozart was known to perform with a blank sheet of music at the keyboard as a prop. Anyway, what does that have to do with piano technique?
Posted By: Phlebas Re: Is Chopin the Greatest? - 04/07/06 07:06 PM
Also, I don't believe 12 tome music could be characterized as the most popular form of piano composition from the 50s-70s. 20th century music is way too diverse to make that kind of generalization.
Posted By: Antonius Hamus Re: Is Chopin the Greatest? - 04/07/06 09:36 PM
Actually, Liszt's technique was quite different from Chopin's from the beginning (this can be seen from the fingerings that each of them provided), and Liszt didn't even hear Chopin's music (not to mention played or studied it) before he was already 20 years old. And Liszt wrote his remarkable transcription of Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique at the same time that Chopin was writing his Op. 10 etudes.

And Liszt developed piano technique, when he needed to or felt like it, from his own resources (he didn't have to look for help in others' piano writing, whereas Busoni, for example, stated that always when he despaired about some technical problem he knew that he only had to study Liszt's piano music to find the solution... In fact, Busoni wrote that Liszt had solved all possible problems regarding piano writing and technique.

PS. When Liszt was only 16, "[he gave a concert in London, where] Moscheles was present and wrote, 'In its power and mastery of every difficulty Liszt's playing surpasses anything previously heard.'"
Posted By: Phlebas Re: Is Chopin the Greatest? - 04/08/06 04:10 PM
Sure. Liszt may have been even more influenced by Paganini, and I don't think he heard him play until he was about twenty.

A lot of people argue "is Liszt or Chopin more influential." I think they both are about equal in the impact they had on piano music. They are both interesting because a lot of their technique was developed independently.
Posted By: Johnny-Boy Re: Is Chopin the Greatest? - 04/08/06 05:38 PM
Saying Chopin was the greatest is like saying chocolate ice cream is better than all the other flavors of ice cream. I think I’d get sick of eating chocolate all the time.

Best, John smokin
Posted By: cerulean5 Re: Is Chopin the Greatest? - 04/08/06 07:11 PM
Apple,

Regarding your comment about anger and joy: I don't know about anger, but Chopin certainly knew absolute pinnacles of joy. How else could he have written the triumphant ending to the 4th movement of the 3rd sonata, or the ringing climax right before the tragic coda in the 4th Ballade, or the uplifting endings to the Fantasie-Polonaise and the Fantasie?
The fact that many of his pieces show melancholy and desperation make those joyful moments so much more significant and poignant, in my opinion.

--c5
Posted By: Glyptodont Re: Is Chopin the Greatest? - 04/09/06 01:41 PM
Really, I think some of these people posting above just start with an emotional opinion and then try to rationalize it. For example, the one guy does not like Chopin, so starts trying to explain why Beethoven is better. But it is not logic, it's just bias.

My thought is -- no one was BETTER than Chopin. He may have been the most original composer, with the possible exception of Debussy. Perhaps a couple of others may have been equally brilliant, such as Bach or Beethoven or Debussy.

Chopin has a lot of depth. Moreso than many even can understand who just learn one or two short recital pieces from his work.

Chopin made his compositions available to everyone, as compared to elitists like Liszt or Sorabji who intentionally made their work so difficult it was accessible to only a few concert artists.

I do think we all need to take a vacation from Chopin once and a while. Every year I go back to him for a month or two. Then I go to other composers just for a break.
Posted By: Antonius Hamus Re: Is Chopin the Greatest? - 04/09/06 02:29 PM
Liszt wrote (or played) what he heard.

And how about Beethoven? Would even Beethoven himself have been able to play his op. 106 in the tempi specified by himself, even if he hadn't been deaf? I wonder what he was thinking... He probably didn't want bad pianists to play the work publicly (and ended up exaggerating a bit)... But how does that make anybody an elitist? After all, it doesn't stop all kinds of people from enjoying the music (i.e. the rich weren't the only people who got to hear Liszt's recitals and concerts, and thus, his sometimes difficult-to-play music was available to not just the rich (and in wonderful performances, which certainly took the audience into consideration too!))...

I would say that you have some bias yourself, and that you make a bad job of rationalizing it.
Posted By: loveschopintoomuch Re: Is Chopin the Greatest? - 04/09/06 02:40 PM
FINALLY, I FOUND SOMEONE WHO TRULY UNDERSTANDS CHOPIN AND HIS GREATNESS. You are right on the mark (not just my opinion but that of many well-known and respected musicologists). I should add that Debussy was geatly influenced by Chopin and many experts believe that both he (Debussy) and Ravel would not have become the great composers they were if it were not for Chopin. At the risk of sounding like an elitist, I think it takes a certain unique sensitivity to appreciate Chopin. Much of his music is so haunting, and it reaches deep within a person's soul (if you will)and brings it to its knees, literally. Words truly fail when describing both its beauty and its power (yes, power). Nietzsche once remarked that after hearing Chopin, he had no need to listen to any other music. Yes, I love Beethoven and Liszt and many others, but, like Nietzsche, I could easily live on Chopin's music alone for the rest of my life
Posted By: Johnny-Boy Re: Is Chopin the Greatest? - 04/09/06 08:52 PM
Whether Chopin is the greatest or not is only opinion. There is no such measuring strategy that can draw a conclusion on such a subjective art form (at least not a fair one).

I will say it would be an awful boring music world if the only music available was Chopin’s. That would be like having potato soup for every meal, every day.

Best, John smokin
Posted By: CC2 and Chopin lover Re: Is Chopin the Greatest? - 04/09/06 09:47 PM
I will feely admit at the outset of this discussion that Chopin is, by far, my favorite composer. This is based on the feelings his music evokes in me as I both listen to, and play, his music. No other composer does this to me in quite the same way. So, for me, it is the EMOTIONAL CONNECTION I have to what he has written. When an artist who REALLY UNDERSTANDS how to play Chopin does so, there is really nothing else quite like it. I give you this link below. Listen to Chopin in all his glory, played the way it was meant to be played:

Savefile.com

'Nuff said. wink
Posted By: Numerian Re: Is Chopin the Greatest? - 04/10/06 10:32 AM
There are several ways to approach this question.

You could say the greatest composer is he who is most frequently programmed in concerts. By that standing, Chopin is among the most popular for piano recitals, but given his limited number of compositions outside of the piano, he of course doesn't not show up much in orchestral or chamber music concerts.

He is also probably the most universal of composers, with the exception maybe of Mozart. When Western music first reaches a non-Western country, such as Japan in the 1960s or China in the last decade, Chopin's music is among the first to become popular and be routinely performed. The emotional content of his music is universal and transcendental to any particular cultural considerations. In this respect he ranks as one of the greatest of composers, if you value the ability of music to reach the human spirit.

Among concert pianists there is a split opinion. Some like Brendel don't perform Chopin and have expressed no interest in his music. These seem to be the more "cerebral" artists, interested in a composition's architecture as much as its emotional impact. They concentrate on Beethoven, Schubert, Mozart, Haydn, etc. Others like Ohlsson make a career of performing mostly Chopin.

Finally, musicologists tend to give him high marks. Not only was he one of the greatest musical geniuses (moreso even than Mozart - Chopin was largely self-taught and emerged in his twenties as a unique and fully-formed artist); he was highly influential. Leonard Bernstein wrote that all Western music even in the 20th century descended either from Beethoven or Chopin. They represented two competing schools of composition and musical thought.

While most of us could certainly be happy with a diet only of Chopin, if you want to really appreciate his unique style, listen to other composers just as frequently. The more music you hear, the more Chopin stands out as an incredibly important and singular composer.
Posted By: cerulean5 Re: Is Chopin the Greatest? - 04/10/06 10:42 AM
Nicely put, Numerian! thumb

--c5
Posted By: loveschopintoomuch Re: Is Chopin the Greatest? - 04/10/06 12:52 PM
Quote
Originally posted by pianojerome:
Quote
Originally posted by apple*:
[b]
Quote
Originally posted by 8ude:
Looking solely at his piano output, though, he is perhaps unparalleled in his genius for writing for his instrument.
exactly - totally conquered the piano..

I feel he was bound by his psyche... an emotional rut of sorts. [/b]
What do you mean by looking at his piano output and unparalleled?

Do you mean size? Beethoven wrote 32 Sonatas, and Haydn wrote more than 50; Chopin (as far as we know) wrote only 3. Mozart wrote around 25 piano concertos; Chopin (as far as we know) wrote only 2. Brahms and Chopin both wrote 4 Ballades. Chopin was one of numerous composers who wrote 24 Preludes. Strauss wrote hundereds of waltzes, and Chopin wrote around 20 of them. Bartok wrote 6 books of Microcosms, Grieg transcribed dozens of folk songs, and Mendelssohn wrote 49 Songs Without Words.

Do you mean influence? Beethoven's 32 Piano Sonatas are a cornerstone of the piano repertoire. Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier has been hailed as the "Bible" of the piano, an essential part of training as a classical pianist. When students audition at music schools, they are often required to play a Prelude and Fugue from the Well-Tempered Clavier and a Beethoven sonata... and any substantial romantic work (by any romantic composer) and any substantial 20th century piece (by any 20th century composer).

Do you mean quality? As was pointed out by the original poster, Chopin was only one of very many great composers for the piano. Just take again the previous two examples of Beethoven's 32 Sonatas and Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier, but those are only two examples of extraodinarily high quality music written for the piano.


Yes, Chopin's music is great - but it's a bit too far, I think, to say that it is the be-all and and end-all of piano literature. [/QB]
Posted By: loveschopintoomuch Re: Is Chopin the Greatest? - 04/10/06 01:22 PM
I think (but how would I know?) that Chopin would have been very pleased with most of your responses. As for the writer who wished he had more anger and joy...well, his joy was so beautifully expressed in his mazurakas (how he loved and missed his homeland...Poland). True, he never returned to it after he left for Paris. He was very pragmatic; he had to go where the money was. How else could he support himself? But he requested his heart in buried in Polish soil. And as far as anger---I'm sure you've heard his "Revolutionary Etude," just to mention one of many compositions that were full of angst and rage. He wrote this spectacular piece at the age of 18!!

I agree that one composer can't be considered the best. It's all about how the music speaks to personally. I love Beethoven, Liszt, Rach and many others. Their music is huge in scope and emotion. But as in Beethoven's case, for example, it can also be too loud. And since when did quantity surpass quality?
Posted By: cerulean5 Re: Is Chopin the Greatest? - 04/10/06 05:38 PM
Loveschopintoomuch,

While I appreciate your ardor for Chopin's music, kindly don't go around riling up Beethovenites! wink Remember, it's all personal opinions and preferences.

--c5
Posted By: swingal Re: Is Chopin the Greatest? - 04/10/06 09:02 PM
Well, as a died in the wool jazz piano enthuisiast and seeing that this topic is suggested as being on the wrong forum,it aint doing too badly for learned comment and content!

I love to listen to and see live classical piano but of limited range. Mozart's Sonatas, Bach and some Beethoven but Chopin the most!

Wish my ability (natural ear player) to play jazz would allow the same on classical but apart from composing as I play in classical style now and then, I cannot copy any original compositions. nor would I try.

I am pleased that I can truly enjoy and appreciate many classical piano compositions as well as jazz.

Alan
Posted By: stojkovic Re: Is Chopin the Greatest? - 04/12/06 03:24 AM
Chopin is almost as Genius As Tchaikovsky, who looked at Mozart as his idol and bringer of love for music. Mozart's descendant Beethoven is the greatest composer, and Brahms agreed, Brahms struggled to keep up with the magnitude of Schumann symphonies which I find to be a bore, along with Brahms, Without Tchaikovsky we would not have had Rachmaninov or Prokofiev, who both loved the music of Bach and Korsakov. But Bach was the beginning.

There, now try to rank them! hahahahaha

60% Of Chopin is dull repetative stuff in the same key, but that remaining 40%, is such passionate music I have tears in my eyes just thinking about it, the Etudes, the Sonatas, the Ballads, the Nocturnes....ughh......
Posted By: stojkovic Re: Is Chopin the Greatest? - 04/12/06 03:31 AM
When did quantity overpass quality?. So since Ferrari makes only 400 cars a year, Ford is better because it makes millions. Rachmaninov is my favourite composer and he wrote almost nothing, 24 mesmorising tonal poem preludes that I love and adore more than all 5 trillion strauss waltzes, Brahms Ballads and all that....his 4 concertos can only be compared by their origin of form and passion, Tchaikovsky, who wrote only one, and had no need to write another as it is the greatest piano concerto. Mozart Piano Concertos are 15 minutes in length each, the first movement of Beethoven's Emperor is about 20 minutes?.....Please....
Posted By: pianojerome Re: Is Chopin the Greatest? - 04/12/06 03:34 AM
Hey stojkovic, Tchaikovsky wrote THREE piano concertos + a concert fantasy for piano and orchestra smile
Posted By: loveschopintoomuch Re: Is Chopin the Greatest? - 04/12/06 11:12 PM
Stojkovic: I think you misunderstood my question: Since when did quantity surpass quality?" What I meant was quantity is no indication of quality. Or...more doesn't mean better. It is quite fruitless to argue the greatness of one composer over another. For music is not something we can measure but only experience. And...to each his own.
Posted By: stojkovic Re: Is Chopin the Greatest? - 04/13/06 01:03 AM
Of course, I Agree, and I know Tchaikovsky wrote 3, but I dont even know the other 2, I meant he only needed to write that one, and that would have been enough.
Posted By: btb Re: Is Chopin the Greatest? - 04/14/06 03:33 PM
In an attempt to avoid the inevitable emotional content from a top 3 composer selection ... a similar January poll in Pianist Corner was prefaced by:

"Escaping in a Star Wars pod prior to mother-ship Earth being nuked by Darth Vader ... who's keyboard music ( 3 composers) would you take along to pollinate a Homo Sapiens restart amongst the stars? My choice would be Beethoven, Chopin and Gershwin.
But imagine leaving behind the music of Bach, Mozart, Mendelssohn, Tschaikowsky, Debussy and Rachmaninoff ... to mention a few. However ... what would be your threesome?
PS the pod comes complete with Fazioli grand. Any takers?"

The poll resulted in an almost dead-heat ... but with Bach marginally shading Beethoven and Chopin.
Posted By: signa Re: Is Chopin the Greatest? - 04/14/06 05:38 PM
to me, Chopin is placed after Mozart at least, and Bach and Beethoven are always on the top of everyone else.
Posted By: loveschopintoomuch Re: Is Chopin the Greatest? - 04/16/06 02:09 PM
Too tough! While I love Chopin, Beethoven and of course Bach and Mozart. I would be grief-stricken to leave behind Tchaikovsky, Rach, Gershwin, Schumann, Schubert and so many others. I'd think I would just stay behind and listen to all I could before being nuked!
Posted By: -Frycek Re: Is Chopin the Greatest? - 04/16/06 03:37 PM
Quote
Originally posted by loveschopintoomuch:
Too tough! While I love Chopin, Beethoven and of course Bach and Mozart. I would be grief-stricken to leave behind Tchaikovsky, Rach, Gershwin, Schumann, Schubert and so many others. I'd think I would just stay behind and listen to all I could before being nuked!
Best answer of all.
Posted By: PianoEntropy Re: Is Chopin the Greatest? - 04/16/06 07:04 PM
He is the greatest, together with Bruce-Lee smile .
Posted By: Ballyhoo Re: Is Chopin the Greatest? - 04/17/06 12:05 PM
My favourite discussion of Chopin:

http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?/topic/2/5476.html#000000
Posted By: Jeanne W Re: Is Chopin the Greatest? - 04/23/06 09:59 PM
Chopin and Rachmaninov are my two favorites. I am learning Chopin's ubiquitous "Nocturne in E flat" and I've always appreciated and loved much of his music, but I think it's possible to get a better feel for the music, a closer feel for it, when you are playing it yourself, don't you think?

There is a point 3/4 of the way through the music, when the notes reach very high...

I played it through once, twice, then had to get up and walk away from the piano. I was thinking what a GENIUS Chopin was. The music in that section is the culmination of everything that came before it, it is so eloquent and beautiful and PERFECT...

As another member here said, the personal connection shone through. Here was a man who lived so many many years ago and yet today he speaks to us through his music.

Jeanne W
Posted By: pianojerome Re: Is Chopin the Greatest? - 04/23/06 10:04 PM
Quote
Originally posted by Ballyhoo:
My favourite discussion of Chopin:

http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?/topic/2/5476.html#000000
You forgot about this one:

http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?/topic/2/3489.html

Quote
ninjanitor excuse me but you are so wrong.
In my opinion, List, ShuMang and Buramsu are way WAY above Chopan. I agree that Chopan composed masterpieces such as, works such as those that he wrote as a composer, many of which can be named that are famous and are masterpieces, but Shumang composed even better masterpieces in that they are more masterful (probably 20 to 22.5 times more masterful) than the best that Chopan ever scribbled in his lousy notebooks.
Shumang's pieces are more masterful in a more masterly way than Chopan.
List is more masterful than Chopan but less maybe than Shumang, and that in a not so overtly masterful manner, but more in a kind of mastery way of mastering the instrument.
Buramsu is masterful, but his mastery distinguishes itself from the other masters by the fact that it is less overmastered, but more masterly controlled and to the proper level of mastery.
You would probably need three hands at least to count how many masterful masterworks Buramsu composed.

END OF PROOF
...

Quote
Oh YEAH?!? Well, let me just tell you about *my* super-duperest composition, Symphonic Metamorphosis on "I Fought the Law and the Law Won" for sixteen vibraphones, antelope, and speedos, in the key of HOLY F*#! minor. I originally wrote it for the Benedictine Monks of Santo Domingo de Silos, but they were busy with Hildegard von Bingen at the time. Liszt *wishes* he were me.
Posted By: Pathbreaker Re: Is Chopin the Greatest? - 04/23/06 10:34 PM
Quote
Originally posted by Johnny-Boy:
Saying Chopin was the greatest is like saying chocolate ice cream is better than all the other flavors of ice cream. I think I’d get sick of eating chocolate all the time.

Best, John smokin
I'm trying to figure out how the conversation continued beyond this? I was thinking, "BRILLIANT! Case closed!

I feel that Chopin is great but not my favorite. I think he once was, but nowadays his music tends to be lacking something that I can't clearly define. But Brahms never EVER fails me. For me it is Brahms first and all others far behind him. This is of course opinion and personal taste even though I'd love to try and make it seem like fact. Recently there have been some threads about so-and-so is a genius/greatest composer ever. I've been wanting to created the same thread for Brahms but I have no content to provide. I can't provide any adequate words to explain how he surpasses the rest.
Posted By: Herr_Gnome Re: Is Chopin the Greatest? - 04/25/06 12:55 AM
Quote
Originally posted by PootieTooGood:
Quote
Originally posted by Johnny-Boy:
[b] Saying Chopin was the greatest is like saying chocolate ice cream is better than all the other flavors of ice cream. I think I’d get sick of eating chocolate all the time.

Best, John smokin
I'm trying to figure out how the conversation continued beyond this? I was thinking, "BRILLIANT! Case closed!

I feel that Chopin is great but not my favorite. I think he once was, but nowadays his music tends to be lacking something that I can't clearly define. But Brahms never EVER fails me. For me it is Brahms first and all others far behind him. This is of course opinion and personal taste even though I'd love to try and make it seem like fact. Recently there have been some threads about so-and-so is a genius/greatest composer ever. I've been wanting to created the same thread for Brahms but I have no content to provide. I can't provide any adequate words to explain how he surpasses the rest. [/b]
Counterpoint
Posted By: Ballyhoo Re: Is Chopin the Greatest? - 04/30/06 07:58 AM
You're absolutely right. What a fantastic discussion!

Quote
Originally posted by pianojerome:
Quote
Originally posted by Ballyhoo:
[b] My favourite discussion of Chopin:

http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?/topic/2/5476.html#000000
You forgot about this one:

http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?/topic/2/3489.html

Quote
ninjanitor excuse me but you are so wrong.
In my opinion, List, ShuMang and Buramsu are way WAY above Chopan. I agree that Chopan composed masterpieces such as, works such as those that he wrote as a composer, many of which can be named that are famous and are masterpieces, but Shumang composed even better masterpieces in that they are more masterful (probably 20 to 22.5 times more masterful) than the best that Chopan ever scribbled in his lousy notebooks.
Shumang's pieces are more masterful in a more masterly way than Chopan.
List is more masterful than Chopan but less maybe than Shumang, and that in a not so overtly masterful manner, but more in a kind of mastery way of mastering the instrument.
Buramsu is masterful, but his mastery distinguishes itself from the other masters by the fact that it is less overmastered, but more masterly controlled and to the proper level of mastery.
You would probably need three hands at least to count how many masterful masterworks Buramsu composed.

END OF PROOF
...

Quote
Oh YEAH?!? Well, let me just tell you about *my* super-duperest composition, Symphonic Metamorphosis on "I Fought the Law and the Law Won" for sixteen vibraphones, antelope, and speedos, in the key of HOLY F*#! minor. I originally wrote it for the Benedictine Monks of Santo Domingo de Silos, but they were busy with Hildegard von Bingen at the time. Liszt *wishes* he were me.
[/b]
Posted By: holystorm Re: Is Chopin the Greatest? - 05/03/06 09:46 PM
I think Chopin is ONE of the best, his Pistache (Or however it is spelt) is pretty amazing, and his black note etude.
Posted By: petrof1 Re: Is Chopin the Greatest? - 05/10/06 01:49 AM
Chopin is my favorite classical composer. His nocturnes are so beautiful. The nocturnes are so romantic. I have worked on his Nocturne in E flat, my goal is to finish it one day. His preludes are beautiful also. I always feel peaceful when I listen to his music.
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