Frédéric Chopin: His Life and Music

Week 5: Poet

Prof. Michael J. Ruiz, UNC Asheville

Young Chopin (about age 20)

Josef Kriehuber, after Moritz Michael Daffinger, from 1830?

Young Chopin (about age 20), First Composition at Age 7

Polonaise in G minor

Josef Kriehuber, after Moritz Michael Daffinger, from 1830?

Chopin: "Bach is an astronomer, discovering the most marvelous stars. Beethoven challenges the universe. I only try to express the soul and the heart of man."


Bach (1685-1750)
Discovers the Stars


Beethoven (1770-1827)
Challenges the Universe


Chopin (1810-1849)
Expresses the Human Soul

Prelude in A major (c. 1838)

For Chopin and the Romantic Period, a prelude is a short stand-along piece.
  • Modern Sounding
  • 100 years ahead of his time
  • Cortot: Painful meditation; the distant, deserted sea ...
  • Bülow: Presentiment of death

Mazurka, Op. 17, No. 8 (Four Mazurkas, 1832-1833)

  • based on Polish dance
  • transformed into a new genre by Chopin
  • composed for concert performance

Liszt Children and Grandmom Liszt (1788-1866)

Courtesy Andrew Andersen

Courtesy http://maps.canadiangeographic.ca/outbreak-of-first-world-war-map/

Courtesy https://howellworldhistory.files.wordpress.com

Courtesy dhammamedicine.info

The Revolutionary Étude

  • Étude: a study, short and very difficult

"Revolutionary Étude" inspired by 1831 Russian Attack, Warsaw, 1830-1831 Uprising

By Georg Benedikt Wunder - Public Domain

Nocturne, Op. 55, No. 1 (Two Nocturnes, 1843), to Jane Stirling

A Chopin Ballade

  • One Movement Piece
  • A Chopin Innovation
  • Some of Most Challenging Works in the Piano Repertoire
  • Dramatic and Dance-Like Elements
  • Permeated with "Zal"

The Four Ballades

Chopin: First Ballade

  • Sketches in 1831 during 8-month stay in Vienna
  • Completed in 1835 after his move to Paris
  • Dedicated to Baron Nathaniel von Stockhausen
  • Ambassador to France from the German Kingdom of Hanover

Reference

Chopin: First Ballade (an analysis after over a 100 hours of practice)

  • Introduction (foreboding and sad)
  • Theme A - Zal
    • Slight Unrest
    • Calm Flourish
    • Intense Zal

Chopin: First Ballade (an analysis after over a 100 hours of practice)

  • Introduction (foreboding and sad)
  • Theme A - Zal
    • Slight Unrest
    • Calm Flourish
    • Intense Zal

Descending Semitones

Music to Watch Girls By - or Guys

Gary Cooper - father-in-law of pianist Byron Janis (Chopin interpreter)

Chopin Ballade (an analysis after over a 100 hours of practice)

  • Introduction (foreboding and sad)
  • Theme A - Zal
    • Slight Unrest
    • Calm Flourish
    • Intense Zal
  • Theme B
    • Calm and Peaceful
  • Theme A Returns (Pedal Tones in Bass)
  • Theme B (Most Optimistic and Joyous)
    • Fall for Chopin at the F#minor Chord
    • A twirl and rapid rising octaves
    • Animated Section, Scherzo Section, More Animation
    • Dramatic Return to Theme B
  • Theme A Returns (Pedal Tones in Bass)
  • ANGER

Chopin - Liszt (Use of Descending Octaves)