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Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
"Here's a better version"? I guess that's in the ear of the beholder, isn't it? I auditioned several and chose the Rubinstein because I thought it best represented the piece.
I'm glad you shared the Horowitz. Your statement of personal opinion as though it were fact ... not so much. Anyway, the thread is supposed to be about favorite mazurkas, not favorite performances—or one-upmanship.
Loc: St. Louis area
Originally Posted By: sotto voce
I'm glad you shared the Horowitz. Your statement of personal opinion as though it were fact ... not so much. Anyway, the thread is supposed to be about favorite mazurkas, not favorite performances—or one-upmanship. Steven
It wasn't a favorite until I heard Horowitz's performance. Besides, you're are getting a little touchy (probably from online arguments ), I did put a big grin after my comment. Rubinstein is my favorite pianist, overall.
The Op 59 mazurkas are my personal favorites. They are part of Chopin's later mazurkas and, therefore, bring to light his Polish and very original style. I also like the fact that the first and third very stormy mazurkas flank, as it were, the soothing second mazurka.
Bach - WTC I in C major & C minor (BWV 846-847) Mozart - Sonata K 282 Chopin - Polonaises Op 26 Schumann - Fantasiestücke Op 12
I achieved this list of faves the same way anyone should; I read through the whole book playing each piece twice or more, used post-its to mark the ones I didn't like, then went through the rest & eventually settled on my faves. Takes a few days to do this but well worth it. I've used this method with lots of collections of short works, like Mend. songs without words, Grieg lyric pieces, Scriabin preludes, etc.
Forget choosing pieces based on recordings--at least, I wouldn't do that. Play the music yourself & choose. Of course, you can always go back to the book later & play the "rejects"--often after some time you'll find some overlooked gems by doing that.
P.S. Get the book & recording "Scarlatti 60 Sonatas" by Ralph Kirkpatrick & study those pieces if you want some good background insight into these Chopin mazurkas.
Having read through your comments, listened to the recordings and played through some of the pieces myself, I feel that I have got an idea about Chopin's Mazurkas, and (at least) know where to start.
Somehow I get the feeling that this music is "essential Chopin" - more than many of his longer and more famous pieces. It is even interesting for me to notice that there are obvious parallels between Polish and Norwegian folk music when considering characteristic intervals and rythmic anomalities. Although Chpoin's Mazurkas are not folk music, the source of inspiration often shines through.
I enjoyed listening to the relatively early Mazurkas (e.g. 30/4 and 33/2). Trying to play them, however, makes me realise that there is a long way to go to make real music out of them.
Op. 50/3 is a very interesting piece, and I may end up including this one into my repertoire.
Op.59/2 is a lovely piece with which I think it will be interesting to work. Also the other ones of Op.59 are very beautiful, and I have put them on "hold" in case I get the time to work with them.
There are two Mazurkas on the next Opus, 63/1 and 63/2, which I found more or less by accident. I haven't heard any recordings of them, but especially the first one has a great appeal to me, and I have decided to start studying it. 63/2 is a "Lento" piece with few technical obstacles, and that is also a very beautiful piece, contrasting with the previous one.
The posthumous A-minor (No.51) is a mystery to me, since it is not present in my Peters edition of the Mazurkas. I hope tp have the chance to listen to it, but if it is very challenging technically, it will probably not be my choice.
I know that he was 'polarizing.' Even though I was only here for a short time when he got banned and even though I'd had a whoop-de-do with him, I do have 'fond memories' of him -- he was an important member of the site -- and feel that it's too bad there wasn't a way for him to stay.
Anyway....about the mazurka that Joe posted: I like it a lot too -- especially the last note.
Wow! How to choose? I love the whole bunch a lot. I can't play all of them, unfortunately, so I guess I would have to name the ten or so that I have learned so far. The first one I learned is still one of my favorites, even though it is easier than most: Op. 17, No. 4.
I think you should listen to Arthur Rubinstein's set of mazurkas if you want the best interpretation ever. Of course, he did not record some that were discovered later on, but the ones he knew about were played beautifully. Lots of others do a good job, but for me, he is the master.