Author Topic: Chopin  (Read 35497 times)

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Offline zamyrabyrd

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Re: Chopin
« Reply #280 on: October 28, 2015, 09:35:45 AM »
I really think you're overthinking this.

"Trios" hadn't had automatically had 3-part textures for a long time before Chopin came along. The etymology of the word doesn't automatically define its meaning.

And really, for my part all I said on this topic originally was that most of Chopin's scherzi were clearly in ternary form, in the same way that a menuet/trio or scherzo/trio is in ternary form. I'm honestly not sure if you understand what binary and ternary forms are, because you said something about them being binary and that's what I corrected. Ternary form is ABA, binary form is AB, and the scherzos are clearly ternary.

The difference is as simple as binary forms not having a full close at the end of the first section of music, and ternary forms having a full close at the end of the first section of music. Early binary forms led to sonata form (see Scarlatti's keyboard sonatas for example).

I know all that theory. I did not make myself clear in the beginning. I was thinking of scherzo without a trio, as for instance what Hummel wrote. The 2nd and 3rd Scherzos would really have to be snipped and stretched to fit the definition of scherzo + trio. When you say the scherzos are clearly ternary, No. 2 has a middle section that leads to a development that I have a hard time regarding as a trio and No. 3 (simplified) is ABAB with coda.
As for "overthinking" I believe I am doing the opposite, taking a piece sui generis and not trying to align it with other boxes that it may resemble historically. Except with pieces that are clearly defined as Concerto and Sonata, Chopin's music usually dictates its own form.
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Offline ørfeo

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Re: Chopin
« Reply #281 on: October 28, 2015, 09:59:51 AM »
No. 2 has a middle section that leads to a development that I have a hard time regarding as a trio

No.2 has a middle section. That makes it ternary. That's the sum total of what I was saying.

Again, I'm not out on a limb here. http://en.chopin.nifc.pl/chopin/composition/detail/id/86 . I didn't read that before starting this conversation, but when the official institute - the people who run the international Chopin competition - are talking about ternary forms and trios, I feel reasonably good about my views.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2015, 10:01:35 AM by orfeo »
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Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Chopin
« Reply #282 on: October 28, 2015, 10:10:50 AM »
No.2 has a middle section. That makes it ternary. That's the sum total of what I was saying.

This may perhaps be a bit rigidly cut-&-dried ("that makes it a ternary"); the development section of a sonata-allegro design is arguably "a middle section," and zb is noting that there is a transition into a development section.  Composers do play with form, and as a rule, it is considered inartistic to hew to a cookie-cutter.  Chopin was certainly a subtle artist.  And I have some Poles in my family who might advise you to be skeptical of pronouncements by official institutes  ;)
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Offline (poco) Sforzando

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Re: Chopin
« Reply #283 on: October 28, 2015, 12:10:38 PM »
This may perhaps be a bit rigidly cut-&-dried ("that makes it a ternary"); the development section of a sonata-allegro design is arguably "a middle section," and zb is noting that there is a transition into a development section.  Composers do play with form, and as a rule, it is considered inartistic to hew to a cookie-cutter.  Chopin was certainly a subtle artist.  And I have some Poles in my family who might advise you to be skeptical of pronouncements by official institutes  ;)

Charles Rosen, who usefully reminds us that no 2 is actually in Db major, speaks of a "central section," thus making the form as ABA or scherzo-trio-scherzo as is good enough for me - even though the B section contains some development of the A material - and I hope that pronouncement will get us over any political humps.

But no, I would not agree that sonata form is ternary in the same sense as an ABA dance form; the earliest classical models tend to be ||:Exposition:|| and then ||:Development and Recapitulation:|| - which survives as late as the finale of Beethoven's op. 57 (where quite unusually only the D+R is marked for repeat, which means many pianists ignore B's very specific instruction), the first movement of 78, and the finale of 135 (where the repeat of the D+R is marked optional, and no one does it).

Besides, development sections are generally based on the exposition material, while the B sections of ABA dance forms are contrastive. It seems to me as unsatisfactory to reject the ABA heritage in these Chopin scherzos as it is to ignore that fact that he varied and enlarged the model.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2015, 07:16:00 PM by (poco) Sforzando »
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Offline ørfeo

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Re: Chopin
« Reply #284 on: October 28, 2015, 06:13:46 PM »
^ Yep, exactly what he said.

Sonata form has its origins in binary form, not ternary. It then did indeed borrow from the original ternary forms, and so represents a kind of fusion, but it's origins are from a form where you were in another key at the 'halfway point' (the end of the exposition in sonata form) and then returned to the tonic at the end.

Plenty of sources will tell you this. As for being beware of the pronouncements of official institutes, it's all very well to make that kind of general remark but show me something on either of the pages I've linked to that is actually wrong / or can't be found in a whole lot of other sources. As I said, I expressed these ideas in my own words before finding that the Chopin Institute said the same things. I'm not parroting their pronouncements.

Nor, if you actually read the page, are they blandly saying the 2nd scherzo is a straightforward ternary form without any innovation.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2015, 06:16:25 PM by orfeo »
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Offline zamyrabyrd

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Re: Chopin
« Reply #285 on: October 29, 2015, 12:34:06 AM »
But I have no idea what you mean by "Historically speaking, a 'trio' is more often a commentary on an already musically compact minuet or scherzo." How is this true of the trios in the scherzos of Beethoven's 5th or 7th or 9th? or any number of other examples from Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven?

I may be speaking more of content than form, which is an important consideration for a performer, more than for those who make graphs and analyses. You mention Symphonies 5,7 and 9 of Beethoven. I don't see any difference in basic treatment as for his first 4. The musical material and scoring are simplified. But even if they are, their relationship to the main scherzo movement is crucial. In 5 and 9, the change is from minor to major that is a switch from the usual major to minor of the minuet. The sections are compact in themselves but the trio is subservient to the main section and could not exist without it. It doesn't really matter when speaking of Chopin what happened after him but Schubert was still writing Scherzos in the traditional manner.
Also you, I believe, mentioned the A in Scherzo No.1 as being a-thematic. Fine, the B section has a well defined melody that might by way of what could be decided on as more important to feature in the piece, in your view and others that would be a "trio". For me it is the central part, like the two sides of a triptych converge on it. I don't care what you call it, but I care what is done with it. But, really is this a conventional or even derivative "trio"?
As for Rosen saying that the 2nd is in Db, it is the old story of the 2nd Ballade, is it in the major or relative minor?
Chopin probably wanted the tonality to be ambiguous. Someone pointed out that the Allegretto of the Moonlight Sonata begins with a move to Ab, then gives us a cadence in Db, something unexpected but interesting. After ending the A section in Scherzo No. 2 in Db, right away Chopin gives us a Db dominant in the A''. There may be more than what meets the eye in the Beethoven - Chopin connection.
As for his Scherzos, the "joke" is on us if we argue about them a century and a half later.
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Offline amw

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Re: Chopin
« Reply #286 on: March 15, 2016, 12:18:15 AM »
Hey! Please indicate your preferred recordings of the Sonata No. 3, Op. 58, and why you like them. It's important. For important reasons and stuff. Feel free also to comment on what you think makes for a good interpretation of the sonata.

Offline (poco) Sforzando

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Re: Chopin
« Reply #287 on: March 15, 2016, 03:53:07 AM »
I may be speaking more of content than form, which is an important consideration for a performer, more than for those who make graphs and analyses.

Content and form are inseparable and indistinguishable. A composer does not decide on a "form" and pour "content" into it. As for "performing" vs. making "graphs and analyses" (do I detect some sneering here?), these are two different processes with entirely different goals; and for someone who claims to be a performer, you also do a pretty good job at offering the same kind of analysis you apparently disparage in others.
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Offline zamyrabyrd

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Re: Chopin
« Reply #288 on: March 15, 2016, 08:51:45 AM »
Content and form are inseparable and indistinguishable. A composer does not decide on a "form" and pour "content" into it. As for "performing" vs. making "graphs and analyses" (do I detect some sneering here?), these are two different processes with entirely different goals; and for someone who claims to be a performer, you also do a pretty good job at offering the same kind of analysis you apparently disparage in others.

Hi, I don't know what prompted me to open this link after a hiatus of a few days (as I was very busy), but I like Chopin very much so name recognition drew me to this thread. Now I am trying to remember what the discussion was all about.

Starting backwards, I don't disparage analysis on condition that it does indeed relate to content. ABA or XYZ don't mean a thing by themselves, or even bridge, transition, recap, modulation or any musical term. I broke my head over those while in school trying to relate them to actual performance. What are their expressive values were my own questions. I try to avoid such terminology while teaching music appreciation for the same reason that content is perceived before the form.

It was only through a two year college course in Schenker Analysis that a 3D approach was revealed and made possible. I was just listening to Horowitz today and by golly if he didn't know this sort of theoretical structure intellectually, he sure perceived it instinctively. Or at least the tradition from which he hailed was more organic than linear. (His performances of the Schubert Bb Sonata and Mozart D Major Rondo are cases in point. There is such a qualitative difference between his playing and most other pianists for that reason.)
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Online Mandryka

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Re: Chopin
« Reply #289 on: March 15, 2016, 09:48:41 AM »
Hey!

Yo!

Please indicate your preferred recordings of the Sonata No. 3, Op. 58,


Gilles (preferably live)
Horszowski
Pletnev
Bolet (live on Marston)
Zimerman (live London 1977,  unreleased)
John Ogdon
 

Firkusny, I only have the studio but a friend says the live one is even better (on Orfeo)
Weissenberg (live on Hansler)

Pollini (maybe)

Zhukov, London 1997 (maybe) (this may be rare or even unpublished, I can let you have it)
Arrau (maybe - I seem to remember there was a particularly good live one on YouTube.)

and why you like them.

You must be joking!

My notes on Horszowski read as follows : It seems to move from death to life in the first movement, and the largo is very fresh, as if it's being created there and then, with an attractive nocturnal feel. The complete opposite of Samson Francois.


Pletnev is one I felt an immediate affinity for when I heard it for the first time years ago, it is one of my favourite piano recordings. I cannot say why, it has something to do with the colours, textures, rubato and introspective quality.

 


Feel free also to comment on what you think makes for a good interpretation of the sonata.
 

A lot of "great" chopinists seemed to treat the music as a miniature, and I don't think that does it justice. I'm thinking of Cortot,   Sofronitsky,  Tiegerman, Rosenthal.

Rosenthal has a very nocturnal mood in the largo which is interesting.

Gould's recording (which he didn't want published) is well worth hearing because of the clarity of the counterpoint.

And there's Sokolov. I was really disappointed by the recent perforamnces of it. There's an earlier one from the 1990s which I can let you have. I wrote (probably bullshit)

 "The interpretation is very distinctive and characterful, especially in the
first movement which resembles no other first movement of this sonata
that I have heard. It seems a synthesis of a Lisztian  style
(Tiegerman), a like affirming style (Gilels) and a dark sad style
(Cortot).  -In the largo,  the pianissimo has to he heard to be
believes. He takes well over 12 minutes to play it (contrast --
Rosenthal takes about 9.) Elsewhere we hear plenty of the deep golden
tone that his come to be one of his hallmarks."

 On Demidenko I commented "cool headed controlled, there isn't any suggestion that the emotions being expresed are actually being suffered by the performer. And yet - to play the music very expressively." Hamelin also for this type of approach I think. And Firkusny best of all.

Ogdon is wild, he was evidently in a strange mood. I love it most when I'm in a strange mood myself,
« Last Edit: March 15, 2016, 10:24:04 AM by Mandryka »
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Online Mandryka

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Re: Chopin
« Reply #290 on: March 26, 2016, 11:31:43 PM »
I forgot to mention Evgenyi Bozhanov, especially in the live Aug.14 at the 2015 Biarritz International Piano Festival, I can upload it.

Bozhanov sounds to me like a great pianist in the making. This is probably nonsense but the largo seemed really psychological - like it evokes all sorts of dream like mental states or something. The final movement is like someone throwing a bucket of cold water on your head.

Like when they reach Cornwall and King Marke turns up in Act 1. Night music, day music. Death music, life music. I've never had that idea before.
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Offline NikF

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Re: Chopin
« Reply #291 on: January 11, 2018, 12:15:08 PM »
Pollini playing Chopin 62/1

I'm aware my frame of reference is still limited and so I would like to know the opinions of others, no matter how informed or whimsical they might be. I'm prepared to show my own hand and say that this sounds like a restrained, yet elegant performance.,

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=6JNRtM2Q3yI
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Offline North Star

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Re: Chopin
« Reply #292 on: January 11, 2018, 12:23:21 PM »
Pollini playing Chopin 62/1

I'm aware my frame of reference is still limited and so I would like to know the opinions of others, no matter how informed or whimsical they might be. I'm prepared to show my own hand and say that this sounds like a restrained, yet elegant performance.
Restrained and (why yet?) elegant seems like an apt description to me. Pollini's Chopin (especially live) usually works well for me.
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Offline George

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Re: Chopin
« Reply #293 on: January 11, 2018, 12:34:02 PM »
Pollini playing Chopin 62/1

I'm aware my frame of reference is still limited and so I would like to know the opinions of others, no matter how informed or whimsical they might be. I'm prepared to show my own hand and say that this sounds like a restrained, yet elegant performance.,

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=6JNRtM2Q3yI

Retrained, yes. Elegant, yes. But I prefer something poetic, beautiful:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mor9t8UXIlI
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Offline NikF

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Re: Chopin
« Reply #294 on: January 12, 2018, 10:58:37 AM »
Restrained and (why yet?) elegant seems like an apt description to me. Pollini's Chopin (especially live) usually works well for me.

I don't know how to say it, exactly. But it's one thing to show restraint and another to make it appear effortless.

Like, when you're in the boxing ring and your opponent lands a punch on you, it hurts like hell. When that occurs you can't afford to automatically react to it, to lash out, to change your game plan. But that's not enough, you need to receive it with calmness - that not only are you tough enough to take it, but you could take it all day and never lose it. Consistent coolness, on tap.

I just read all that back and LMAO.

Retrained, yes. Elegant, yes. But I prefer something poetic, beautiful:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mor9t8UXIlI

Cheers, George - I liked that. And I know you've tipped me off to Arrau before.

I have/had these recordings which I enjoyed greatly -

“Perhaps,” I thought, “this is exactly why you loved me: joys are forgotten, but sadness, never . . .”

Offline George

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Re: Chopin
« Reply #295 on: January 12, 2018, 11:27:51 AM »
Cheers, George - I liked that. And I know you've tipped me off to Arrau before.

I have/had these recordings which I enjoyed greatly -



Although his Chopin is mixed overall, his Nocturnes are as good as it gets.
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Online Mandryka

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Re: Chopin
« Reply #296 on: January 12, 2018, 11:46:17 AM »
Ther's a 1971 recording of op 62/1 by Arrau which is well worth going out of your way to hear, I'd say more successful than the one in the big set that George mentioned. More punch -- it seems to have the punch of the Pollini and a rich emotional life too.
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Offline NikF

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Re: Chopin
« Reply #297 on: January 13, 2018, 01:53:53 AM »
Ther's a 1971 recording of op 62/1 by Arrau which is well worth going out of your way to hear, I'd say more successful than the one in the big set that George mentioned. More punch -- it seems to have the punch of the Pollini and a rich emotional life too.

Thanks for that, Mandryka. I'll certainly have a look for it.
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