Everything CHOPIN on Classical TV

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Your source for Frederic Chopin's life and musical works, plus essays, news links and premier Chopin productions - all on Classical TV... 

 

 


 

 

WATCH PERFORMANCES OF CHOPIN COMPOSITIONS:

 

Watch Chopin's four Ballades Ops. 23, 38, 47and 52,  and Scherzo in B-flat minor,  Op. 31

 

An important recording of Chopin for Economou at the Kongressaal Munich.

 

Watch Chopin's Prelude in C minor,No. 28, Op. 20

 

The starting point of Shchedrin's composition - performed by Shchedrin, Nicolas Economou, Paul Gulda and Chick Corea.

 

Friedrich Gulda's recital, "Chopin Pour Ma Douce," including the nine PreludesOp. 2, Nocturne Op. 62, No.1, Barcarole Op. 60, and Berceuse Op. 57


Austrian piano virtuoso Friedrich Gulda performs in a historic live recording from the Munich Philharmonie.

 

See Classical TV's "Happy Birthday, Chopin!" festival - and read Bob Hughes (Classical TV's "Hughes Views") on "The Continuing Allure of Chopin"

 

 

... And watch all Chopin videos on Classical TV

 

 


 

 

Frederic Chopin: Romantic Soul, Modern Legacy


 

Some composers announce themselves in just a couple of bars. But as Michael Clive notes, Chopin is more that just one of most distinctive composers of the romantic era; he is also the godfather of every pianist who followed him.

 

One advantage of acquiring the taste for classical music at an early age is that when the miseries of adolescent angst descend, the music of Frederic Chopin is ready and waiting to counter them. Time and Chopin are the only known remedies for the wounds of first love.

 

It would be criminally reductive to describe Chopin simply as the composer whose moody, mercurial harmonies captured the exquisitely painful pleasures of romantic ardor. But there is an undeniable affinity between Chopin’s music and the heart’s most inexpressible feelings — the feelings that, as teenagers, we feel no one could possibly understand. Chopin did, and he froze them in the amber of his intimately scaled keyboard compositions. Even his two piano concertos, scored with an almost grudging use of the orchestra, bring the listener in close to the piano and to the deepest of emotions.

 

A Polish-born patriot whose brilliance remains central to Polish national identity, Chopin spent his all-too-brief adult life studying and then performing in France, where his salon concerts were among the hottest of tickets for the intellectual and artistic elite. Their embrace of Chopin as an artist says much about the romantic era’s exaltation of rebellious individualism in self-expression, which he manifest mainly in short piano solos: concert dances like waltzes, mazurkas and polonaises (in tribute to his native Poland); dark nocturnes and sparkling ballades; and dazzling etudes.

 

Even during his lifetime, discerning listeners knew that Chopin’s handling of musical materials lacked the complex sophistication of some composers. But this was accepted as one hallmark of an artist who, in keeping with the times, insisted on expressing himself in his own way (usually in short, richly expressive melodies declared in four-measure phrases and then repeated in pairs). In other ways, however, Chopin was highly skilled and innovative, deploying thickly layered, highly chromatic chords and modulating with great inventiveness. His minutely nuanced expressiveness creates an almost telepathic bond connecting composer, performer and listener.

 

Perhaps most importantly, there is Chopin’s special relationship with the piano, which accounts for his unique place in the affections of listeners and pianists. His dates, 1810 to 1849, overlap those of Franz Liszt and Nicolo Paganini, whose virtuosity and charisma in the concert hall helped create the modern idea of a star musician. But while their pyrotechnic displays roused audiences to near-frenzy reaction, Chopin did something very different and no less intense — playing his own very distinctive music as if the piano were an extension of himself.

 

Today, no matter what else a classical pianist plays, she or he must play Chopin, and the sound of his music remains unmistakable — the fluidity, the chromaticism, the moodiness. Frederic Chopin came of age with the modern grand piano and demonstrated the possibilities of its expressiveness, and every composer and pianist who came after him learned from his example.

 

 


 

 

SEVEN UNUSUAL FACTS ABOUT CHOPIN:

 

 

Talk about hometown pride: romantic partner George Sand labeled Chopin "more Polish than Poland"; Chopin left his home of Poland for Vienna and Paris, but not before taking a goblet of Polish soil with him.

 

Chopin's despair at the news of the November Uprising in Warsaw fueled the composition of his Scherzo in B minor, Op. 20, and "Revolutionary Étude," in C minor, Op. 10, No. 12.

 

Chopin rarely performed proper concerts, preferring intimate salon playing (his style was a bit light-handed for auditoriums, anyway); English scholar Arthur Hedley said Chopin acquired "a reputation of the highest order on the basis of a minimum of public appearances - few more than 30 in the course of his lifetime."

 

Chopin became involved with French novelist Geroge Sand, but provided less than kind descriptors to his friend and fellow composer upon initially meeting Sand: "What a repulsive woman Sand is! But is she really a woman? I am inclined to doubt it."

 

Oh, everyone was there: Post-humous, several wanna-bes falsely claimed to have been with Chopin when he died. Polish writer Tad Szulc later responded, "Being present at Chopin's death seemed to grant one historical and social cachet."

 

French sculptor Auguste Clésinger made a death mask for Chopin and cast his hands.

 

A form of insurance, to say the least: Chopin feared being buried alive; he expressed a dying wish for someone to remove his heart before burial to prevent this. Chopin's heart remains in an urn in a church in Warsaw.

 

 


 

 

CHOPIN IN THE NEWS

 

The Chopin International Competition Gets Underway

The Chopin International Competition in Warsaw will host its finalists in October, who are each vying for the title of the best performer of Chopin classics.

 

"After 200 years, classical composer Chopin's music still holds mysteries."

 

Louis Lortie talks about the challenge of Chopin and why he keeps coming back for more.

Louis Lortie on his new recording of the complete Chopin piano études.

 

Did pianist Lang Lang really make mincemeat of Chopin's F Minor Piano Concerto while performing alongside the Dresden Staatskapelle under Fabio Luisi in Lucerne, Switzerland?

 

Hands off the heart: The Polish government forbids geneticists from removing Chopin's heart from its repositary for DNA testing - the scientists sought to establish whether Chopin died from tuberculosis or cystic fibrosis.

 

The New York Times reviews pianist Irena Portenko's production of Chopin's "24 Etudes," the most "intimidating hour of music in the piano repertory." Quite the feat for Portenko, as the writer puts it, "If you can play the 24 Chopin études, you can play anything written for the piano."

 

 


 

 

BOB HUGHES' SIX DEGREES OF MOZART - FOR CHOPIN

 

As part of All-Time Classics, we bring you "Six Degrees of Mozart" ... for Chopin. The great Mozart's musical, and sometimes personal, influence is pretty much everywhere imaginable. See where Chopin falls in the web of Mozart:

 

* Like Mozart, Chopin was a child composer and was even called "The Polish Mozart."

 

* The slow movement of Mozart's Piano Sonata in B Flat, K. 281, labeled "andante amoroso," prefigures Chopin.

 

* Like Mozart, the talents of "little Chopin" were highlighted in newspapers; Chopin gave his first public appearances as a pianist at age eight.

 

* The andante cantabile of Mozart's sonata in A minor, K. 310, was the model for Chopin's nocturnes.

 

* Chopin's mother took him to see Mozart's Don Giovanni when Chopin was 14-years-old.

 

* One of Chopin's early works is a set of variations for piano and orchestra of "La ci darem la mano," from Don Giovanni.

 


 

CHOPIN LINKS

 

Frederic Chopin: The Delicate Piano Poet

 

Chopin: The Poet of The Piano 

 

Chopin Music

 

Classical Net - Chopin