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#977474 - 09/11/06 05:10 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
Shey Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/03/06
Posts: 306
Loc: Greater Manchester, England
This is to LovesChopinTooMuch,
I am a complete beginner to piano and classical music. I am becoming obsessed with Chopin. I found a CD first in my local charity shop and have listened and loved it. I Don't know anything about him, but would love to play something. Is there anything a beginner could have a go at, beginner as at 13 weeks learning!!!! Shey
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Alfreds All In One Level 1 graduate and various other tutor sources
Alfreds Masterworks Classics Level 1-2
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#977475 - 09/11/06 05:29 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
loveschopintoomuch Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/05/06
Posts: 4690
Loc: Illinois
Hi Shey:

Gosh, 13 weeks.

Do you have a teacher? This might help somewhat. But it also might hinder since most would probably say you were not ready for anything by Chopin. :rolleyes:

Here's my take on this. If you love a piece of music (even though it might be a little ...or even a lot out of your league,) with lots of practice and loads of love, you can almost accomplish the impossible. The trick is to be determined.

HOWEVER, you could be setting yourself up for a lot of frustration (which kept me away from the piano for 15 years). We certainly don't want that to happen to you. Especially now, that you are just beginning. \:\(

I think the easiest piece (at least the first one I learned ..on my own) was his Prelude, Op. 28, No. 7. It's only about 15 measures in length. But, be careful...as in lots of Chopin's music, looks can be deceiving.

It has a lot of chords, mostly octave (two C's or two A', etc.). And there is an impossible reach in 5th meaure from the end. But the good news is...a lot of repeats.

It isn't a big sounding piece, but one that everyone has heard and loves because it's quite charming and elegant and short (a big plus). \:\)

Shey: I know how badly you would love to play Chopin. I wish you well. Give the prelude a try. It might take a while. But in the end, you'll be able to say: "I can play Chopin."

Doesn't get any better than that.

Good luck and check in with us. Also if anyone else has any other suggestions for Shey, please jump in. If you think I am giving her some bad advice, please let me (and the rest of us) know.

And buy more of Chopin's recordings. You have a whole new world out there to discover, lucky you!

Kathleen
_________________________
After playing Chopin, I feel as if I had been weeping over sins that I had never committed, and mourning over tragedies that were not my own." Oscar Wilde, 1891

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#977476 - 09/11/06 05:43 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
sarabande Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/18/05
Posts: 1597
Loc: Mo.
I always loved hearing Chopin's music but haven't learned much of it \:\( . I asked a teacher once if I could learn some Chopin and he never replied one way or another - just kind of ignored the comment.

I since (some time ago) bought a book of the complete Preludes and Etudes. But I took one look at the music, closed the book never to return to Chopin again.

It still is in the back of my mind that I'd like to play some of his music.

Can anyone recommend some of the simplest Chopin pieces? I'd kind of like to play some simpler one's just for fun. What are some of his simplest works to play?

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#977477 - 09/11/06 06:10 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
loveschopintoomuch Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/05/06
Posts: 4690
Loc: Illinois
Thank you, Ragnhild, so much for sharing your experiences in Poland. You described everything so beautifully. You have the soul of a poet.

Regarding Chopin's heart. He had a real fear of being buried alive, as did his father. So he asked his sister to have his heart removed right after his death and requested it be buried in Poland. One can look at this in two ways. That his heart belonged to his motherland. Or he just wanted to make certain he was truly dead when buried. I prefer to think it was the former.

My grandfather (born in Poland and was once a guard at the Russian front) used to tell us kids horror stories of people, who were thought to be dead, laid out in the living room of people's homes. The bereaved saying prayers around the coffin. All of a sudden, the would-be corpse got up, looked around and had a strange look on her/his face. "Who invited all these people?"

Frycek: That's pretty amazing about that Nazi officer. (I have my fingers crossed).


Welcome Patty and Saraband. A special welcome BACK to Chopin for Katy. I envy you your son's love for music and his special adoration for Chopin. Also, wow...what a teacher you had.

Saraband: Too bad about your teacher.

I would love to recommend some compositions to you. What level do you think you are? Beginner or Intermediate and, if you could, indicate what level in those...such as middle beginner or advanced intermediate, etc.

A lot of Chopin's music can be played by middle-intermediate students. Lots of really beautiful pieces. Mazurkas, a few noctures and many preludes and much more. Please let me know.

Kahleen
_________________________
After playing Chopin, I feel as if I had been weeping over sins that I had never committed, and mourning over tragedies that were not my own." Oscar Wilde, 1891

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#977478 - 09/11/06 10:21 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
sarabande Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/18/05
Posts: 1597
Loc: Mo.
 Quote:
Originally posted by loveschopintoomuch:
A lot of Chopin's music can be played by middle-intermediate students. Lots of really beautiful pieces. Mazurkas, a few noctures and many preludes and much more. Please let me know.

Kahleen [/b]
I do like to play mostly middle intermediate level pieces for my own personal enjoyment. It's because I find myself gravitating toward simplicity in music. It is the Mazurkas and Nocturnes and such that I would be interested in. What would you recommend?

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#977479 - 09/11/06 11:37 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
I have a number of comments on some things in the preceding messages.

The Chopin Companion by Alan Walker really is excellent. It's in the vein of Jim Samson's books, but I think it's a little less "dry" in its musical analyses and therefore more readable. (I think it's still out of print, but a couple of used copies are currently available on amazon.com.)

Also, Chopin's Letters, published by Dover (and therefore quite inexpensive!), is a very interesting look into the personality and psyche of our hero; one appreciates his sheer humanity, and that he had quirks and foibles like all of us.

I had not pondered the extent to which Chopin's inspiration and drive to write his most mature and masterful compositions in his "late" period was related to a sense of his days being numbered. I need to re-read Chopin's Letters myself to get a better sense of his own awareness of how rapidly he was approaching the end of his life.

I do know, though, that the masterworks in question were not produced in the actual final few years. The Cello Sonata, his last large-scale work and the last opus published in his lifetime, was completed by 1846. I think that by the last 3 years of his life, Chopin was so ill physically that his creativity was impacted. The concert tour of England and Scotland in 1848 must have been almost unbearably difficult for him.

On the other hand, I seem to recall reading that Schubert -- who died even more prematurely than our beloved Chopin -- had an amazingly intense burst of creative energy just a short time before his death, and that some of his masterworks (like the Sonata in B flat?) were conceived and penned practically overnight. Can anyone corroborate?

And I had no knowledge of Chopin's heart being rescued by a Nazi soldier. Now, that's proof that the power of beautiful music is transcendent.

Okay, I don't mean to stir up controversy with the subject I'm about to broach, but I have to comment on Chopin's lovers (as opposed to Chopin lovers!). \:D I'm just trying to keep it real!
 Quote:
Originally posted by CHAS on March 22, 2006:
The biography of Chopin that I read made me wonder what would his music would have been like in the absence of homophobia.
The biographer made allusions to Chopin's homosexuality, the resulting repression must have had an effect. He did have "friends" that visited when he lived with George Sand, but in that time people did not "come out".
I wonder which biography that was, because Chopin scholars have typically refused even to "go there" -- except to defensively dismiss any possibility that same-sex attraction could possibly be imputed to Chopin. This urge to deny the significance of evidence to the contrary reeks of "doth protest too much." Like CHAS, I've wondered how the creativity of artists of the past might have been impacted in the absence of cultural and societal homophobia. And what especially interests me is how much more we might know if it weren't for the homophobic bias of historians and biographers!

I believe it's obvious from the written record that Chopin's relationship with Titus Wojciechowski (the dedicatee of the Opus 2 Variations) was the defining one of his life. The implications of their early correspondence has generally been suppressed, distorted or justified by commentary to the effect that the norms governing expressions of affection between men were completely different then -- i.e., that the explicitly lustful yearnings expressed were emphatically not romantic or, heaven forbid, sexual in nature.

Anyone who reads Chopin's Letters will see that Chopin's devotion to Titus Wojciechowski was lifelong[/b]. The month before his passing, Chopin wrote to him on the topic of arranging for Titus to visit Chopin in Paris. How much should we "read between the lines"? Indeed, we can only guess.

Wikipedia's entry for Chopin makes no mention whatsoever of Titus Wojciechowski. Does anyone else think that should be addressed and corrected?

Just a few of other things. I mentioned this in another thread, but everyone here should be interested to know that there is an orchestrated version of the Allegro de Concert on Vox Box "The Romantic Piano Concerto" Volume 1 (which also has the wonderful Henselt concerto). So, in a sense, we do have a very good -- albeit speculative -- example of what the first movement of the proposed third concerto would sound like! It's completely faithful to Chopin's score. The alternations of solo and tutti are the ones that are palpable in the piano solo score; even the instrumentation seems spot on, if much more elaborate than what Chopin would probably have devised.

Also, I recently acquired a used-but-like-new "The Complete Rubinstein" -- the enormous suitcase-sized box set of nearly 100 CDs -- from amazon.com. Perhaps I'll post my impressions occasionally as I work my way through it.

Finally, regarding my comment about Paris and Père Lachaise: I have no plans to go to Paris imminently. Unfortunately, I was just mentioning what will be first on my list of things to do when I finally do go there!
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#977480 - 09/12/06 05:44 AM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
Patty39 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/02/06
Posts: 225
Loc: Germany, near Cologne
SHEY, Jesus, 13 weeks! Anyway, please go directly for Prelude No 4 Opus 28 in e minor. I discovered this Prelude after round about 1/2 a year learning (maybe a bit earlier) and hesitated first, BUT you will 100% for sure be able to grasp the beauty of this composition. Don't worry about the stretto part, you won't be able to play it (I am just recently able to survive it). AND you can play it real, real slow and soft (just don't drown the right hand notes with you left). Imagine, I have been enjoying this masterly little piece for more 1 1/2 years now!

When I started to discover it, it gave me thrills all over! I'll never forget this experience - back then I had no idea what kind of sound the score in front of my face would produce, and I was in awe with every new chord I played. I have tears in my eyes remembering...

I am off playing...

Patty
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In love with life

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#977481 - 09/12/06 09:34 AM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
loveschopintoomuch Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/05/06
Posts: 4690
Loc: Illinois
Sotto Voce: Excellent subject, and one I would love to comment upon later (after I practice.)

I know Frycek (our resident expert on Chopin...she knows just about everything) will also comment.

Patty39: I do agree with you that Prelude Op 28, e minor is "relatively" easy to play...but not that easy to play well. The constant chords in the LH can drown out the delicate one note melody line in the RH. But it is CERTAINLY worth the effort to give it a try.

Because my piano is so old and has a broken something, I find I have to use both the right and left pedals to keep those chords at bay. Also, it's difficult to keep them from sounding so "pounding." But it can be done, with practice. Good suggestion.

It does break your heart with its pathos. I can empathize with your tears. Every time I play it, I have to sit still on the bench for a few minutes to "recover."

I am constantly amazed how he (with just one note) can create such utter despair.

Chopin requested it be played at his funeral along with #6.

Go for it, Shey! You won't be sorry.

And you'll most definitely be "hooked."

Kathleen
_________________________
After playing Chopin, I feel as if I had been weeping over sins that I had never committed, and mourning over tragedies that were not my own." Oscar Wilde, 1891

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#977482 - 09/13/06 02:32 AM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
Patty39 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/02/06
Posts: 225
Loc: Germany, near Cologne
I'd like to add a little story that involves our famous Waltz in A minor op. posth.: I remember that I had the score for a while, but I had never heard the waltz before. Somewhere around January I decided to try out the right hand to see how it sounded, it did not convince me. Then one day in February I just sat down and told myself what the heck, try both hands together and hack through it. The effect threw me off balance because the beauty of the piece unravelled instantly. Just a few days later I went to a concert with Gregory Sokolow, and guess what, his encore was this waltz, I couldn't believe my ears! And just back on Sunday my sister-in-law played it again as an encore at her concert for me - beautiful to hear it played by professional pianists! Sigh, I love this piece...

Patty
_________________________
In love with life

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#977483 - 09/13/06 08:52 AM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
Fat Old Ugly Frank Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/16/05
Posts: 36
Loc: Pittsburgh PA
There's a book I have, "Essential Keyboard Repertoire 85 Early/Late Intermediate Selections In Their Original Form Baroque to Modern" Selected and Edited by Maurice Hinson. It contains 5 very playable Chopin pieces, including the posthumous A minor Waltz. It also contains a bunch of other nice stuff too.

http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?/topic/29/172.html has a link to a recording I made of one of those pieces.

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#977484 - 09/13/06 09:41 AM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
Peyton Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 2522
Loc: Maine
Patty,

Are you talking about the waltz 34/2 in A min? You say posth and I didn't think that one was?
_________________________
"One's real life is often the life that one does not lead."- Oscar Wilde
www.youtube.com/Biffer5
www.peytonart.com


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#977485 - 09/13/06 11:04 AM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
loveschopintoomuch Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/05/06
Posts: 4690
Loc: Illinois
Is this the waltz (numbered 17) you mean?


waltz in a minor 17 post


It's absolutely delightful.

Kahleen
_________________________
After playing Chopin, I feel as if I had been weeping over sins that I had never committed, and mourning over tragedies that were not my own." Oscar Wilde, 1891

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#977486 - 09/13/06 12:20 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
Peyton Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 2522
Loc: Maine
 Quote:
Originally posted by loveschopintoomuch:
Is this the waltz (numbered 17) you mean?


waltz in a minor 17 post


It's absolutely delightful.

Kahleen [/b]
Ohhh, that one. That is pretty. I was looking through my Shirmer Chopin waltzes and couldn't find it. Still can't for that matter. Guess it's not there.
_________________________
"One's real life is often the life that one does not lead."- Oscar Wilde
www.youtube.com/Biffer5
www.peytonart.com


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#977487 - 09/13/06 01:28 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
Patty39 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/02/06
Posts: 225
Loc: Germany, near Cologne
Yes, Kathleen, this is the waltz, now Peyton has to listen if it is 34/2...

Beautiful.

Patty
_________________________
In love with life

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#977488 - 09/13/06 02:28 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
LisztAddict Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/12/05
Posts: 2896
Loc: Florida
That Waltz in A minor is No 19 or Brown Index 150. I must say I like Mike White (Yamaha G-3 & P-80) playing of this Waltz much better than Valery Lloyd-Watts'. It's a Waltz and Mike played it like a Waltz, and Valery played it like a Nocturne or something like that.

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#977489 - 09/13/06 02:34 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
-Frycek Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/06/05
Posts: 5921
Loc: SC Mountains
 Quote:
Originally posted by LisztAddict:
That Waltz in A minor is No 19 or Brown Index 150. I must say I like Mike White (Yamaha G-3 & P-80) playing of this Waltz much better than Valery Lloyd-Watts'. It's a Waltz and Mike played it like a Waltz, and Valery played it like a Nocturne or something like that. [/b]
Does anyone need the music for it? I've got a copy and it's gotten hard to find now. I could scan it.
_________________________
Slow down and do it right.

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#977490 - 09/13/06 05:22 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
karaeloko Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/09/06
Posts: 78
Loc: back in PTY
I have a thing for haunting pieces. Music I like tend to be romantic, sad and haunting. Most of Chopin music falls into this category.

Just listen to Chopin Nocturnes to have an idea of what I mean. Listen to Chopin Nocturne Op.48 No.1, Nocturne Op.27 No.2, Chopin Nocturne in C# minor. Prelude No.4 is such a simple piece of music but it's got such a powerfull feeling.

And no, I am not forgetting any other pieces, I just think it'd be better to keep this post short.

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#977491 - 09/13/06 05:39 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
loveschopintoomuch Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/05/06
Posts: 4690
Loc: Illinois
No it's not Op. 34/2; it doesn't have an opus mumber. Just called Waltz in A minor, #17.

The 34/2 is a completely different waltz.

Sotto Voce:
I think the jury is deadlocked on the subject of Chopin's possible homosexuality.

What a paradox this man was. To this day, I don't think anyone has come close to understanding what went on inside his head or within his heart.

What he couldn't put in words, he put into his music. And from the range of emotions in his works, he went from one extreme to the other. Almost (and some have suggested this) like a manic-depressive.

When writing to his childhood friends, Chopin often employed phrases as: My soul, My dear, My life, "I kiss you cordially on the mouth with your permission, Love me sweetheart, I love only you, Give me your mouth. None of Chopin's friends were homsexual.

We can understand why some biographers have winced at such excesses of language and why one came up with a theory about Chopin's conscious or latent homosexuality.

(It also might be worth mentioning that Chopin was raised by women, his mother and sisters...and he was the only boy in the family. He could have very well acquired a certain trace of femininity from being around them.)


Chopin had an extreme reserve with regard to women. According to George Sand (with whom he lived for nine years), "He scorns the realities of the flesh. He says that certain acts could spoil one's memories."

Some authors think that his imagination predominated over his sense of reality, the idea of love seemed more exciting than love itself, in its physical form.

I personally can accept this statement because of the music he wrote. So much of it is filled with such a sense of strong yearning, unrequited love type of sadness, and soulful loneliness. Almost like a schoolgirl/boy fantasizes about a "dream lover." Especially the slow movement of his concerto in E. It was written to express his feelings about a young girl with whom he went to school, Konstancja Gladkowska. How he did worshipped her (from afar, naturally). He did speak with her but only about mundane matters. Never did he express his feelings about her. He wrote to his friend Titus...that she was his ideal. That movement in the concerto always brings tears to my eyes because of its heartbreaking loveliness and quiet passion.

What is so sad...several years after his death when through his letters it was discovered how he felt about her, she was totally suprised and said that she thought he was quite strange and much too shy. Then she went on her merry way without another thought about the whole thing.

Yes, Titus Wojciechowski was a lifelong friend. Extremely handsome, he was a robust gentleman farmer and was married to Countess Poleytillo. He was frequently appalled by the effusiveness of his friend whose genius he admired, but he did not hesitate to put him in his place: "I don't liked to be kissed!" (Men kissing men on the mouth was quite common place in Russia and could have very well been accepted as custom in Poland also.) Hey, the French kiss men to this day, first on one check and then the other.

I remember growing up (my mother's side was Polish) and my granfather used to kiss his grown sons and grandchildren on the mouth. We never thought anything of it.

Well, I guess one could write a book on this subjct alone (perhaps it has been done).

He was a tortured soul most of his life. The brief periods of true happiness were mostly from his childhood. Then, here and there....and once in a while.

I'm currently reading the book: Chopin by Bernard Gavoty. He makes it quite clear tht he believes Chopin was the best thing to happen to music. He often refers to him as "our hero." Our hero did this...or Our hero did that, or Our poor hero... Quite charming, I think and exceptionally sensitive.

Kathleen
_________________________
After playing Chopin, I feel as if I had been weeping over sins that I had never committed, and mourning over tragedies that were not my own." Oscar Wilde, 1891

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#977492 - 09/13/06 06:35 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
Peyton Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 2522
Loc: Maine
 Quote:
Originally posted by Frycek:
 Quote:
Originally posted by LisztAddict:
That Waltz in A minor is No 19 or Brown Index 150. I must say I like Mike White (Yamaha G-3 & P-80) playing of this Waltz much better than Valery Lloyd-Watts'. It's a Waltz and Mike played it like a Waltz, and Valery played it like a Nocturne or something like that. [/b]
Does anyone need the music for it? I've got a copy and it's gotten hard to find now. I could scan it. [/b]
I'd love a copy. It's such a nice waltz I'm surprised it's not in the usual Chopin collection book?
_________________________
"One's real life is often the life that one does not lead."- Oscar Wilde
www.youtube.com/Biffer5
www.peytonart.com


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#977493 - 09/13/06 06:35 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
loveschopintoomuch Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/05/06
Posts: 4690
Loc: Illinois
Sorry for the long post (above).

I, also, think that Mike White played the waltz exceptionally well. He is my hero (speaking of heroes).

But I do like Valarie's rendition. I think by playing it slowly, the charm of the piece comes shining through.

I play it slowly also. For two reasons: I like it that way, and 2) I don't do "fast" very well. Whenever I try to speed it up a tad, I fumble all over the place. Even though (as a whole) it is not a difficult piece, it does have some tricky spots. And they trip me up more often than not.

Peyton: Don't you think that the nocture we're learning sounds like a polonaise? It has such a slow, heavy and stately beginning and a lot of angst all over. Certainly not typical of some of his other nocturnes.

I tried recording the following enchanting nocturne via audacity...not the best quality. But for those looking for something relatively easy and wonderful to play, consider this.


Nocture in C minor

Kathleen
_________________________
After playing Chopin, I feel as if I had been weeping over sins that I had never committed, and mourning over tragedies that were not my own." Oscar Wilde, 1891

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#977494 - 09/13/06 06:37 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
Kathleen, I appreciate your thoughts on the subject and the sensitivity with which you express them.
 Quote:
Originally posted by loveschopintoomuch:
None of Chopin's friends were homsexual. [/b]
That's true insofar as we are aware, but something we can never know because, as CHAS said in his earlier post in another thread, people just didn't "come out" in those days.
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#977495 - 09/13/06 06:43 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
loveschopintoomuch Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/05/06
Posts: 4690
Loc: Illinois
How true.

Considering what Tschaikovsy (sp?) went through, it's no wonder.

How so tragic about him. What a waste.

Kathleen
_________________________
After playing Chopin, I feel as if I had been weeping over sins that I had never committed, and mourning over tragedies that were not my own." Oscar Wilde, 1891

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#977496 - 09/13/06 10:23 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
karaeloko Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/09/06
Posts: 78
Loc: back in PTY
Just a quick note. Kathleen, the Nocturne you posted is the posthumous c minor. It's just that there are two Nocturnes in c minor OP.48 No.1 and the one you posted. I just wanted to make the distinction.

Nice recording by the way.

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#977497 - 09/13/06 11:19 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
-Frycek Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/06/05
Posts: 5921
Loc: SC Mountains
Actually one of Chopin's friends was a homosexual and a notorious one at that. He was the Marquis de Custine, minor poet and major travel writer who wrote a definite portrait of Russia. De Custine had been married young to a young lady of his mother's chosing. He apparently loved her deeply in spite of his sexual orientation. After she and their baby died in childbirth he began to seek the company of other men. He made overtures to the wrong man and ended up beaten and bloody on a road outside of Paris. After that he came out. His own level of society shunned him so he found his friends among the more tolerant artistic circles frequented Chopin and Delacroix. By the time Chopin met him, De Custine was established with his life partner, an Englishman named Edward. Chopin in the company of other men, like Delacroix occasionally spent a weekend at De Custine's estate. Chopin rode donkey's by day and entertained the company at the piano in the evenings. Chopin kept a very kind letter De Cusine wrote to him. De Custine wrote it at about the time Chopin's engagement broke off. Chopin must've been obviously ill and depressed. De Custine wrote to him that though he sensed Chopin's troubles were not just physical, regardles of how troubled he was, that he must take care of himself. De Custine offered him a loan if it were necessary for Chopin to take a cure at a spa or to simply give off teaching to rest, or the use of his estate to recuperate. Chopin didn't take him up on it but thought enough of the kindness of the gesture to keep the letter.
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#977498 - 09/14/06 05:42 AM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4261
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
"A horse, a horse ... my kingdom for" ... a jolly old copy of the Chopin C minor (1837) Nocturne post. How tantalising to hear Ashkenazy doing his CD thing ... nice job Kathleen and thanks for the lead ... and finding that my ABRSM edition fades at 19 Nocturnes and doesn't include the extra two nocturnes ... the post. C sharp and the C minor (1837).

Even the Sheet Music Archives ( where I seem to download a daily 2 gems) haven't added the C minor (1837) Nocturne to their marvellous list. Can't wait to get to the keyboard with this early work.

Can anybody help me with an instant copy? ... scrub round the horseless wild kingdom offer ... perhaps I can ask Tom Pearce to lend me his grey mare.

The date of the C minor Nocturne (1837) would indicate that Chopin was still studying his craft under Elsner. Could the "post." be as a result of Chopin regarding the Nocturne as something beneath him ... we know that on his deathbed in 1849:

"He orders all his unpublished and uncompleted works to be thrown on the fire. He said to Wojciech Grzymala (some name!!):
"You will find many works, more or less worth of me; in the name of the affection which you hold for me, please burn them all apart from the beginning of my method for piano. The rest, without any exception, must be consumed by fire, for I have too much respect for my public and I do not want all the pieces unworthy of my public to be distributed on my responsibility under my name." In his last hours, as Pauline Viardot recounts, he still found the strength to say a warm word to everyone.

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#977499 - 09/14/06 07:43 AM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
Numerian Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 1075
I'm not a 100% Chopin player; I go through periods where Bach or Liszt or others become my focus. But I gravitate back to Chopin more than to any other composer, and it's safe to say he is the pole star for most amateurs and certainly for audiences at piano recitals. Why is that?

I can think of at least two qualities to his music that account for this: accessibility and - I'll make this word up - "transportability". His music is immediately accessible on an emotional level, and defines Romanticism for many people. He also has the ability to transport you to another world, especially when listening to a fine artist playing Chopin. You are suddenly out of the real world and cocooned in another place altogether, a place of your own imagination that you can construct any way you want out of the emotions the music evokes. His Nocturnes in particular have this quality, and I've been in recitals where the audience is so enwrapped in the experience they forget to applaud at the end (I'm thinking especially of Artur Rubinstein's performance of the Nocturnes).

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#977500 - 09/14/06 08:25 AM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
-Frycek Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/06/05
Posts: 5921
Loc: SC Mountains
Actually the 1837 date is probably wrong for the C Minor Posthumous Noctune. If the write up in the Paderewski edition Minor Works is correct the date 1837 (the rational for which is never given and is not printed in the Paderweski) the date should've been around 1827 when Chopin was 17 and studying composition under Professor Elsner. I actually think it was a piece he left in Poland and forgot about. How it survived until 1937 when it was first published and reached the Paris Conservatory Library which provided the manuscript, is anybody's guess. It may have been a piece he'd left in the album of one of his teenaged friends that made it's way to library through a bequest or an auction. Most of the papers Chopin left with his family including the manuscripts for half a dozen waltzes were destroyed in 1866 when the Russians trashed and burned the belongings of the tenants of the building in which Chopin's mother and surviving sister were still living as a reprisal for an attempted assasinatiion of the Russian governor by one of the tenants. Of course the nocturne may've been one of the papers sister Isabella did manage to save.

I have a copy that may be scanned if it can wait till I get off work this evening.
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#977501 - 09/14/06 08:48 AM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4261
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
Thanks Frycek ... your kind offer is awaited with baited breathe.

You are a real Sherlock Holmes when it comes to the history of Chopin ... it is quite by chance that you support my presumption that the Nocturne was written during the Elsner period (however, I must come clean in having got my sums wrong and missed out a decade ... being totally distracted and trying to rationalize the unworthy "post."

Perhaps we'll never know when the Nocturne was written ... but who's complaining when there's prospect of delighting in an untried Chopin work.

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#977502 - 09/14/06 08:49 AM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4261
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
double post ... sorry chaps

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#977503 - 09/14/06 09:08 AM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
Peyton Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 2522
Loc: Maine
 Quote:
Originally posted by loveschopintoomuch:


Peyton: Don't you think that the nocture we're learning sounds like a polonaise? It has such a slow, heavy and stately beginning and a lot of angst all over. Certainly not typical of some of his other nocturnes.

I tried recording the following enchanting nocturne via audacity...not the best quality. But for those looking for something relatively easy and wonderful to play, consider this.


Nocture in C minor

Kathleen [/b]
Yea, I can hear a bit of a polonais in there. Hey, are you playing the Nocturne here? My computer won't play it (unrecognized format) but I'm curious.
_________________________
"One's real life is often the life that one does not lead."- Oscar Wilde
www.youtube.com/Biffer5
www.peytonart.com


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