"spianato" derives from the Italian verb "spianare", means "to smooth out",
"aplanir". That's why the piece is marked "Tranquillo".
Colosa: According to Oxford's Concise Dictionary of Music, "Spianato"
means "planed, levelled, smooth".
Only the famous novelist George Sand was the Chopin's lover.
Chopin was most definitely also in love with Delfina Potocka, an early
sweetheart in Poland, whom he even intended to marry. However, her mother
refused to consent to this after Chopin became so violently ill that rumors
swept across Europe of his death. She felt his precarious health made him a
poor choice for a husband. Jeremy Seippman, along with other sources, back me
up in this.
woman to whom Chopin proposed marriage when he was a young man was Maria
Wodzinska, not the Countess Delfina Potocka. The exact nature of Chopin's
relationship with Delfina Potocka is still apparently a subject of debate
among his biographers. That the two of them were acquainted is a matter of
historical fact, and it has long been believed by some that they were lovers.
In 1945 a Polish musicologist named Pauline Czernicka announced that she had
in her possession a number of letters written by Chopin to the Countess, and
there has been much controversy over their authenticity. For an
interesting discussion of these purported letters (including the results of an
examination of them by a forensic graphologist), as well as an evaluation of
the likelihood of a romantic relationship between Chopin and the Countess, see
the 1978 biography "Chopin," by George R. Marek and Maria Gordon-Smith.
The woman generally identified by Chopin's biographers as his first love (or
at least his first infatuation) is Constantia Gladkowska, a singer whom he met
when he was nineteen or thereabouts, when the two of them were students at the
Warsaw Conservatory. Chopin wrote about her in his diary and in letters
to friends (at one point describing her as his "ideal"), and his feelings for
her seem to have lasted for a year or two. Some of Chopin's
biographers say that he never made his feelings known to her, but Zamoyski in
his 1979 book "Chopin: A Biography" states that before he left Poland, Chopin
at least suggested to Constantia what he felt for her, and that they exchanged
rings. At any rate, when several years later Constantia married another
man, Chopin received the news with equanimity.
To the list of Chopin's "loves" (depending on how one defines the term) might
also be added a woman known to us only as "Teresa." In a letter to one
N. A. Kumelski, written by Chopin on November 18, 1831 shortly after he had
arrived in Paris, he says that there are in Paris plenty of available young
women who chase after men, but notes that the "memento" left to him by Teresa
has left him unable to take advantage of such opportunities. Marek and
Gordon-Smith, in their 1978 biography "Chopin," surmise that Teresa was a
woman with whom Chopin had slept and who gave him some sort of venereal
infection. Marek and Gordon-Smith state that the condition of which he
complained might have been misdiagnosed as a venereal disease, and at any rate
was soon cured. (Chopin's medical history has probably been the subject
of more speculation and discussion than that of any composer in history, and
no writer seems to have thought that he suffered from a venereal disease, at
least not for any length of time)
Autrey: According to the several biographies I've read, Chopin has
reportedly been in love with 4 women: Constanza Gladowska, Maria Wodzinska,
George Sand, and Delphine Potocka.
- The first woman, Gladowska, was an adolescent crush of Chopin's. She was
never aware of the fact that he was smitten with her until after the fact. She
reportedly claimed that he would have never made a good husband because of his
- The second, Maria Wodzinska, was the woman he to whom he proposed marriage.
They had a short engagement that did not result in matrimony. He was told by
her mother that he could marry her on the grounds that he take better care of
his health and assume a more routine lifestyle. He did not.
- The third, George Sand, is his most famous love affair, which ended when
Chopin took the side of Sand's daughter Solange in an arguement over her
(Solange's) betrothal to a dissolute artist named Clesinger.
- The last, Delphine Potocka, is controversial. Some critics and biographers
assert that he never had an affair with Delphine, some believe that he had a
platonic love for her, while the rest believe that he had an all-out affair
with her. The emergence of some very interesting correspondance in the 1940's
between Chopin and Delphine split the musical world at to the nature of the
relationship between them, but the letters were discovered to be forgeries
several years later (read Marek's biography). However, some still believe that
they indeed had an affair.
Alexei: When I read this, many people had responded. but Tim is right,
the woman Chopin intended to marry was certainly Maria Wodzinska.
Unfortunately he could not get his wish as his health was bad. Evidence can be
found in the Etude Op. 25 #2 in F Minor: Chopin imagined it to be a mirror of
Before this was Constantia Gladowska, but Chopin certainly did not get
anywhere in their relationship: Gladowska was popular and had many(!)
admirers. Evidence! We're talking evidence here: she inspired his Waltz Op. 70
After this was George Sand, as everyone knows.
I have doubts about Delphine Potocka, but Chopin did dedicate his Minute Waltz
Op. 64 #1 to her.
There is actually some written evidence that Fryderyk and Delfina were lovers.
His roommate at the time, Dr. Hoffman I believe, later told his wife that he
had known the countess to stay for quite a while after her lessons, sometimes
till the next morning. It's not solid evidence, but it does add some weight.
Many people observed them spending time together and assumed that they were
romantically involved. The letters which appeared in 1945 in Poland,
supposedly written by Chopin to Delfina, are of course fake, but some people
think that the scam may have been based on a few actual letters. It's unlikely
that we'll ever be able to entirely sort this out. (It's none of our business,
anyway!) What we do know for sure is that in one of Chopin's letters he refers
to Delfina with the phrase "you know how much I love her" or "you know how
fond I am of her." A note from near the end of his life mentions an item he
had received as a gift from her, as "very precious to me." He did love her in
some sense. If we are talking "in some sense," we must also mention Fryderyk's
boyhood friend, Tytus Wojciechowski. Their relationship seems to have been
quite an intense, and at least on Fryderyk's side, romantic friendship. It is
not clear just how literally we should take Fryderyk's passionate and flowery
letters to Tytus. It certainly wasn't a physical relationship, and Chopin's
letters imply that his feelings made Tytus a bit uncomfortable. But during the
time that Konstancja Gladkowska was Chopin's "ideal," his relationship with
Tytus seems to have been much more central to his life.
Minh Khoa &
Ronaldo Alvarenga: 6 works for piano and orchestra:
- Concerto for piano and orchestra op.11
- Concerto for piano and orchestra op.21
- Variations on "La ci darem la mano" op.2
- Fantasy on Polish Airs op.13
- Rondo a la Krakowiak op.14
- Andante spianato & Grande Polonaise op.22
pieces composed by Chopin for two pianos, or for two players on the same
piano. His Op.73 is a Rondo in C major for two pianos, which was published in
Berlin in 1855. Also, Brown in his 1972 revised catalog of Chopin's works
lists a piano piece for four hands: an Introduction, Theme, and Variations in
D major on a theme of Moore, which was published in Krakow in 1965.
1. Duo Concertant from Meyerbeer's "Robert le Diable", E major, piano and
2. Rondo, C major, Op. 73, for 2 pianos
3. Sonata, G minor, Op. 65, piano and cello
4. Songs, Op. 74, voice and piano (17 songs)
5. Variations, E major, on a theme from Rossini's 'La Cenerentola', for
pianoforte & flute
6. Variations, D major, on a theme of Thomas Moore, piano 4 hands
Autrey: The break between Chopin and sand was long coming, due to the vast
differences in their personalities (he was fastidious and concerned with
appearance, she wrote about women's liberation and wore men's clothing in her
younger days). However, the 'straw that broke the camel's back'occured when
Solange, Sand's daughter, announced her engagement to a minor French noble by
the name of DePreaux. He lavished her with attention, and fickle Solange soon
became bored, and broke the engagement. Soon after, Solange became engaged to
a young dashing artist named August Clesinger. She was smitten and, although
Sand at first opposed the marriage, she gave in. Chopin was never informed
about the engagement by the Sand family, but heard the news through hearsay.
This disturbed him, but he made no move to break with Sand. As a further
slight, Chopin was not invited to the wedding. Soon after the wedding,
Solange's marriage began to fall apart, and Clesinger began to threaten and
act very uncivilly toward Sand. This caused a breakdown in Sand's relationship
with her daughter. This situation came to a head when Clesinger hit Sand, and
Sand kicked them both out of the house, ordering them never to return. Solange
then wrote Chopin, asking for permission to use the carriage that he kept at
Nohant, Sand's estate, in order to leave comfortably. Chopin granted
permission, feeling sorry for Solange (she was pregnant), and wanting to
slight Sand as well. Sand thought that this gesture meant that Chopin loved
her daughter more than she, and broke contact with him. Although Chopin still
loved Sand, he never discounted Sand's claims. They were never reconciled.
Ms. Autrey said, the immediate cause of the break between Chopin and George
Sand was that he sided (or seemed to side) with Sand's daughter Solange at at
time when Solange and her mother had quarreled. Solange was by most accounts a
headstrong and difficult young woman, and in May 1847 she married a
hard-drinking, deadbeat sculptor named Auguste Clesinger, against the advice
of Chopin and other friends of the family. The next month the couple came to
Sand's estate at Nohant for a visit. The particulars of this visit vary as
told by Chopin's biographers, but the consensus seems to be that Solange and
Clesinger behaved badly toward Sand and the other guests, and that Solange in
particular did her best to stir up trouble. Ultimately a brawl took place in
which Clesinger and George Sand exchanged blows, and Sand's son Maurice nearly
shot Clesinger before order was restored. The newlyweds left Nohant the next
day and went to a nearby inn. Solange wrote to Chopin (who had been in Paris
the whole time), giving him her version of what had happened and asking him to
send his carriage to bring herself and her husband to Paris. When Chopin did
so, this seemed to Sand like a betrayal, and their relationship quickly
deteriorated. Her last letter to him was dated July 28, 1847.
Although the precipitating cause of the break was this family quarrel, the
Sand-Chopin relationship had been cooling for some time, at least on her part.
(Marek and Gordon-Smith in their 1978 biography "Chopin" state that in 1845
Sand had a brief affair with a philosopher named Louis Blanc, which Chopin
never knew about). The ardor of their early times together had passed, and by
1847 they probably had not had sexual relations for several years. (This
appears to have been Sand's decision, which she later defended on the grounds
of Chopin's health). Moreover, as the years went by, friction arose from the
fact that Chopin seemed to regard himself as a member of Sand's family and
entitled to take a hand in the governance of her household and children. At
certain times (most notably when she gave her consent for Solange to marry
Clesinger), Sand went behind Chopin's back in domestic matters to avoid
confronting his disapproval and to get done what she thought ought to be done!
Eventually she probably came to resent what she regarded as his meddling in
matters that were none of his business. Even if the quarrel between Solange
and her mother had not caused the final break between Sand and Chopin,
something else might well have done so sooner or later.
think that the fundamental problem in the relationship between Sand and Chopin
was her insistence on treating him as her third child rather than as an adult
man who had at least half a brain and was her equal as a domestic partner.
Part of this was the cessation of their physical relationship, which, in my
opinion, directly led to the wild jealousy that she complained so bitterly
about. I'll just leave this complex subject at that for now.
From a source by Hedley, he claims that Chopin and Sand's break was
circumstantial. Solange was rebelling against her mother and Chopin cared
for the family as a whole and chose to side with her. Hedley asserts that
Chopin and Sand cared about each other very much, but the circumstantial
problems with family and health drove them apart, not from them destesting
He relished his
position at a very center of Parisian high society (at the time where
musicians entered the best houses only through the tradesmen's entrance). When
still in his 20s, he consorted on equal terms with princes, countesses and the
greatest cultural personages of the day.
Autrey: Chopin belonged to the upper middle strata of society.
Politically, he considered himself a revolutionary, but he never officially
sided with any one faction. Ironically, he never 'conspired' with his Polish
contemporaries for Polish liberation, and as 'revolutionary' as his political
outlook may have been, that didn't stop him from socializing and becoming
friends with the nobility.
hate to say this, but if Chopin were living in the US today, he'd probably be
a Republican! Chopin was politically conservative, and his livelihood depended
on the aristocratic status quo.
approximately 1m60, Weight: less than 50 kilos. So he's rather small,
suspiciously an elegant man! Khoa says that he's tall and big. Can anyone give
a reliable info?
According to a few books I've read, Chopin was anywhere between 5'5" to 5'8"
tall. He never weighed more that 100 lbs. In one book I read (I,
unfortunately, can't remember the name or the author, sorry, but it's at the
Furman University Music Library), he once took Solange, George Sand's
daughter, to a fair where they both had themselves weighed. The receipt
containing his weight read 98 lbs. If I remember correctly this was about 1845
or 1846. According to the same book, at the time of his death he weighed about
88 or 90 lbs.
Chopin was 1.70 m tall according to a passport issued to him when he went to
England with Pleyel in 1837. According to that same passport, his eyes were
blue-grey. This evidence is far more reliable than "souvenirs" after his
death. His weight is given in one of the volumes of Sand's correspondence
edited by G. Lubin...
In English measurement, though he would have been thinking metric, he was
about 5'7" tall. He was at times under 100 lbs and probably never much more
than that. This was an extremely flexible body with little muscle mass, very
well suited for its owner's musical proclivities. It's said that Chopin was
able to do contortions quite easily. His insistence on "souplesse"
(suppleness) was probably a lot easier for him to achieve than it was for his
flat major :-)
Tim: The third (funeral march)
movement of the Op. 35 piano sonata was composed in 1837, which was also the
year in which Chopin's quasi-engagement to Maria Wodzinska ended. (Jim Samson
writes in his 1996 biography, "Those inclined to relate Chopin's works
directly to incidents in his life will have no difficulty with the Marche
The other three movements of the Op. 35 sonata were written in 1839.
Samson states that Chopin probably worked on them during his winter in Majorca
with George Sand, and Chopin also mentions working on the sonata in a letter
he wrote in the summer of 1839 (his first summer at Nohant with Sand).
Veronica: I read somewhere
that chopin was having a little party and then there was a storm, obviously
inspired he sat in the darkness and composed it with so much passion that he
fainted. how intriguing.
Norn Jornsen: Chopin's
funeral march is the slow movement of his second sonata. It is modeled after
Beethoven's twelfth sonata which contains a funeral march "on the death of a
hero." Chopin loved that Beethoven sonata, and it was the only one he ever
performed in public. I do not know the specific story, if there is one, but
Chopin was certainly influenced by Beethoven.
Autrey: Chopin considered
himself a 'nationalist' and is considered by Poland to be one. However, Chopin
was not actively or blatantly nationalist. He never used his status as a means
of aiding Poland in a political sense. Politically, his national stance came
from his voluntary exile from Poland. I suppose you could call him
conscientious objector to the Russian regime in Poland. His music, however, is
what makes Chopin a nationalist. He drew from Polish folk music for
inspiration and, though some musicologists would argue, wrote his despair for
Poland into his music. For more info, read Marek's or Sculz's biography about
Autrey: Surprisingly, this is a
difficult question to answer. For some reasons there seems to be a lot of
controversy over the details of his physical appearance. Some say that his
eyes were dark brown, almost black. Biographer George Marek believes this to
be true. However, others believe that his eyes were very light --- blue or
blue green, as biographer Tad Szulc believes. Others still believe that his
eyes were hazel. Although I've never read a work by any Chopin biographer who
asserts this point of view, many contemporary accounts state that his eyes
were hazel, including the accounts of several childhood friends. Many of the
portraits of Chopin show that his eyes are a light brown/hazel color. I've
also seen portraits that show Chopin's eyes a dark grey. Most of the portraits
that show his eyes as dark brown are copies of lost originals, which lead me
to believe that dark brown was not his eye color. I believe the contemporary
accounts over the biographers --- his eyes! were hazel
Chopin's eyes were blue grey, as stated in the passport he obtained in 1837 to
go to England with Pleyel.
BLUE, despite Liszt's insistence that they were brown. In Maria Wodzinska's
watercolor portrait (which is an impressive painting, especially considering
her age of 16), one can clearly see the blue, and she was looking straight at
him at the time. Even more convincing, to me, is the fact that Rosemary Brown,
the famous medium who channeled works of Chopin, Liszt, and a number of other
"dead" composers, perceived his eyes as "a beautiful clear grey-blue."
There are numerous errors in the above answers regarding the color of
Chopin's eyes. Liszt did not state that Chopin's eyes were brown but rather
that they were blue. There is also no documented record of Chopin's passport
stating his eye color as being blue. I have yet to see prove of this
Many books on the life of Chopin disagree on eye color. It is most probably
either blue or brown. Frederick Nieck's book on Chopin's life references
several of Chopin's childhood friends who all report a brownish color.
Nieck's descredits Liszt's account of his eyes being blue.
It is most likely that Chopin's eyes were of a brown color.
Chopin's French passport does indeed exist and has been reproduced in many
sources, notably on the official Warsaw Chopin site. It states his weight (
given in kilos) as 98 pounds, his height (given in milimeters) and just
under 5'7", his hair as blond, his eyes as blue.
Tim: I regard the "Minute"
waltz as being in ternary (ABA) form. However, Weinstock in his 1949 book
"Chopin: The Man and His Music" says that it is in ABCAB form. I assume he
reaches this conclusion by viewing measures 21-36 as a B-section.
1. "No Other Love" (1950). Based on the Etude in E, Op. 10, No. 3.
Words and music by Bob Russell and Paul Weston. Recorded by Jo Stafford
2. "Till the End of Time" (1945). Based on the Polonaise in A-flat, Op.
53. Words and music by Buddy Kaye and Ted Mossman. Recorded by
Perry Como (Victor).
3. "I'm Always Chasing Rainbows (1918). Based on the middle section of
the Fantasy-Impromptu in C-sharp minor, Op. 66. Words by Harry Carroll,
music by Joseph McCarthy. Recorded by various artists, including Perry
Como (RCA), Benny Goodman (Columbia), and Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians
4. "To Love Again" (words by Ned Washington, Music by Morris Stoloff and
George Sidney) was based on Nocturne Op.9, No. 2.
5. "Could It Be Magic" words by Adrienne Anderson music by Barry Manilow was
inspired by the Prelude in C minor Op. 28, No. 20.
Lemon Incest (1984), by Serge Gainsbourg, based on the Etude in E, Op. 10,
Insensatez (1961), called How Insensitive in English, music by Antonio
Carlos Jobim, based on Prelude, Op. 28, No. 4
Exit Music (For A Film) (1997), by Radiohead, based on Prelude, Op. 28, No.
Dawson: The fourth Ballade was inspired by Adam Mickiewicz's poem "The
Three Brothers Budrys". It is a story of a Polish father who sends his 3 sons
off to war and they come back, with one bride shared by all three. You can
read the entire poem translated into English at
Teresa: There is no evidence whatever that any of the Ballades had a
"story" behind it. It is all due to a suggestion made by Schumann. The only
Ballade which may have had an intended "message" is the second one, which was
referred to by a publisher's agent as the "Pilgrim's Ballade" (see the book by
Yeshe: The three sons did not share one bride, each son took a Polish
bride, their deceased mother having been of Polish decent as well.
A lot of people
said that his name should be pronounced "Show-pan". Alexei said that his name
in Polish is FRYDERYK FRANCISZEK SZOPEN.
said the Polish pronunciation on Chopin's name was as follows: "Shop-an";
the French variant was pronounced as "Show-pan".
said that he is Dreyschock.
Jimmy: The question needs a little qualification. What is a magic
piano anyway? If it were really Dreyschock, then the question should
mention his "revolutionary" is done in octaves.
David: he performer was Sparky and he was an amazing success until
his concert career abruptly ended when the Magic Piano let him know that
"your time is up, I will no longer play...for...you..." and it all came
crashing down around him. I grew up listening to that on LP and loved every
minute of it. That and my father playing 10/12 and 25/12 on our piano as I
lay under it.
There are three reasons I can give that almost any music historian would agree
with. The first reason is that Chopin used forms in new and original ways. The
etudes are a fine example of this - while studies for piano certainly existed
before Chopin, he endowed his with qualities of beauty that were never seen
before in that form. Secondly, Chopin used harmonies that were, for the time,
uniquely innovative. His use of chromaticism and other gorgeous harmonic
effects still astonishes us today. Lastly, Chopin created a new type of music
for the piano. He used the piano in ways that others before him never did,
bringing out the qualities of the instrument that allowed a vast dramatic
scope. In short, Chopin is great because he was so original.
No. 2 Chromatic
No. 3 Tristesse
No. 4 Torrent
No. 5 Blackkey
no. 12 Revolutionary
No. 1 Aeolian Harp
No. 2 Bee
No. 5 Wrong Notes
No. 7 Cello
No. 9 Butterfly
No. 11 Winterwind
No. 12 Ocean
(Attn: No nicknames were given by F.Chopin)
It is said that Chopin did not formally name his etudes, rather the
publishers who wanted to sell the songs better:
Etude Op.10 No.1 (Waterfall)
Etude Op.10 No.2 (Chromatic)
Etude Op.10 No.3 (Tristesse) - 'Tristesse' is usually refered to as a deeply
sad grief, many musicians believe it was poorly named.
Etude Op.10 No.4 (Torrent)
Etude Op.10 No.5 (Black-Key)
Etude Op.10 No.7 (Toccata)
Etude Op.10 No.8 (Sunshine)
Etude Op.10 No.11 (Arpeggio)
Etude Op.10 No.12 (Revolutionary)
Etude Op.25 No.1 (Aeolian Harp)
Etude Op.25 No.2 (The Bees)
Etude Op.25 No.3 (The Horseman)
Etude Op.25 No.5 (Wrong Note)
Etude Op.25 No.6 (Thirds)
Etude Op.25 No.7 (Cello)
Etude Op.25 No.8 (Sixths)
Etude Op.25 No.9 (Butterfly)
Etude Op.25 No.10 (Octaves)
Etude Op.25 No.11 (Winter Wind)
Etude Op.25 No.12 (Ocean)
Daniel: Chopin was
greatly influenced by the Italian Bel-Canto style, of which Bellini and
Donizetti were the main contributors. Chopin's melodies, which are very
lyrical and expansive, seem to be a distinguished extension of Bellini's
said that Polonaise in A-flat Major "Heroic" and Waltz in C-sharp Minor, Op.
64, No. 2 are the most popular. It is regarded by many advanced pianists as
well as classicists. However, who can say which work is the best, because
we're talking about art.
It seems that the tougher a piece is, the more popular it is isn't it? Among
the very popular of Chopin's masterpieces are the 'Heroic' Polonaise op. 53,
the Fantaisie-Impromptu op. 66, and the 'Revolutionary' Etude op.10-12.
Although the public may not associate it with Chopin, is any piece of his
better known and more commonly heard than the Funeral March from the Sonata
Stacie Todero: Well to me
the most remembered piece is the "Sonata in "b" minor" because the way he
played it was remarkable the way he wanted to stand out and be so original
because he wasn't doing it for anyone, he was doing it perfectly for
himself. To impress himself and that is significant in a musician.
Alex: I believe that the 'Fantasie'
Impromptu Op.66 is the most popular to commoners (non-pianists) and renowned
by pianists to be extremely overplayed. However, I also believe that the
'Polish' Ballade No.1 Op.23 is the most popular among professional pianists.
Jon: In addition to what
has already been mentioned, the "Raindrop" prelude is pretty popular among
James Gath: The most popular and well-known masterpieces of Chopin's
are the Minute Waltz Op. 64 No. 1, The Funeral March from his Sonata in
B-flat minor Op. 35, Etudes Op. 10 No. 12 and Op. 10 No. 3, His Preludes Op.
28 No. 4, 7 and 15, His Nocturne Op. 9 No. 2, the Fantasie-Impromptu Op. 66,
the Heroic Polonaise in A-flat major Op. 53 and the first and fourth
Ballades Op. 23 and Op. 52 respectively.
Halim: the most popular masterpiece is the winter wind for its
dynamic and enthousiam when you play the winter wind you feel a strange
feeling inside as the wind of the winter is runnig inside and destroying the
doors of your heart its such an extraordinary masterpiece !!
Nick: There are a few that stand out and have become extremely
popular in movies and pop culture today. The most famous ones that I can
think of right now are Fantasie impromptu, Etude op.10 no.3, Etude 0p.10
no.12, minute waltz, and nocturne op.9 no.2.
Peter: The pieces already listed are of course superb and very famous
- however this is art, and ranking pieces as "the best / most popular"; is
impossible - a very subjective matter, with popular tastes changing with
time anyway. For me, the 4th Ballade in F minor, should have received more
mention - amongst the finest pieces for piano ever written by anyone - and
the Berceuse, Op.57, is also a staggeringly beautiful piece. Chopin's
Nocturne in Db major, Opus 27 No 2, is also missing from the contributions
above. And finally the Barcarolle, Op.60 - one of the most studied and
admired pieces (by subsequent composers) that Chopin ever wrote.
McCarthy said that Chopin got his inspiration from his senior who had 30
years on him, Irish composer John Field. But later became Chopin's
opposition due to they both wanted the same thing in their music. A
romantic Hazy sound from the piano.
don't think this explanation is satisfactory. Any comment?
Scalloway said that Chopin obtained his inspiration mainly from what he
felt, not from what he saw, or heard, or read,etc. He was a unique composer
for this. Yet he also was inspired by the love he felt when thinking of his
many lovers, and also by the hallucinations he later on suffered. I think that
Chopin got his inspiration from what he felt in the inside. He wasn't often
inspired by something else than love and other emotions, except in the case of
the Ballades, where he "transcribed" some of Adam Mickiewicz's poems.
not sure what this question is getting at, but based on my personal
experiences with composers and composition, I'd say that a composer doesn't
need "inspiration" to write music any more than a lawyer needs inspiration to
practice law, or a surgeon needs inspiration to perform surgery. Composers
write music for pretty much the same reasons other people do what they do: (1)
they want to, and (2) they know how. The idea that a composer or other
creative artist must, unlike other people, somehow be "inspired" in order to
do what he does for a living seems to me not provable and, perhaps more
importantly, not useful.
Leona: Chopin was inspired by the melodies of the bel-canto opera,
the polyphony of Bach, and the modal austerity of Polish folk music. He was
also inspired by the French and American Revolutions to create his military
said that the story behind the so called (never by Chopin himself!). Raindrop
Prelude is a fabrication by George Sand in her Histoire de ma Vie, where she
describes a scene in Valldemosa (Majorca) when supposedly Chopin improvised
the prelude while waiting for her during a storm. There is no reference to
such an incident in her letters contemporary with the supposed event, and
everything indicates that she invented the entire story. Therefore there is no
point in trying to ask what the meaning was for Chopin.
Chantel: Tad Szulc in his biography of Chopin states that at the time
that the "Raindrop" Prelude was written Chopin was suffering from
hulluncinations. Consequently on a stormy night when he was by himself and
waiting for Sand to come back he was playing the piano and the composition
echoed the sound of the thunderstorm. It also says that he himself did refer
to it as the "Raindrop" Prelude, however jokingly.
page 127 of "The Chopin Companion," Robert Collet writes that as far as he has
been able to discover, Chopin never indicated the use of the soft pedal. He
adds that it would be pedantic and probably incorrect to insist that one must
never use it in playing Chopin. The November/December 1983 issue of Keyboard
Classics contained a retrospective on the life and career of Artur Rubenstein.
In that article, Emanuel Ax and Janina Fialkowska, both of whom were coached
by Rubenstein after winning prizes at the first Rubenstein International Piano
Competition in 1974, recounted that Rubenstein used the soft pedal when
playing Chopin (and other music) in a rather unorthodox way. In order to
preserve the sonority of certain passages and still play them pianissimo, he
would put the soft pedal down and then strike the keys as though he were
playing forte. Fialkowska said he called this his big secret, and that he
especially used it in Chopin.
Scalloway said that
Chopin's Polish heritage was present in almost EVERY SINGLE ONE of his
compositions. The mazurkas can appeal to this, as well as the polonaises. Even
Etudes, Valses, Nocturnes and all his compositions also have present their bit
of Polish folk music. You can find bits of polish music in all of Chopin's
music, except maybe the Barcarolle, certain Nocturnes or other scores.
Ebony Khadija Davis said that Chopin's Polish heritage is expressed
in his music through the Polonaise and Mazurkas. These are tradtional dances
forms of Poland.
Jeff: This is doubtful. His early Piano Sonata in C Minor, Op. 4 is
"German" in style (echoes of Beethoven, Bach and Hummel), while his waltzes,
with the exception of the dotted gesture in Op. 64/2, and the "Slavic
melancholy (are Poles supposed to be sad all the time?)" of Op. 34/2, are
actually rather devoid of references to Polish music. A few exceptions can
be found in some of his less formally rigid pieces, such as (ironically) the
Nocturnes (Op. 27/1 in C-Sharp Minor has a brief passage near the
recapitulation, and the two unnumbered nocturnes in C and C-Sharp Minor are
possible exceptions as well). On the flip side, concerning music that is
decidedly non-Polish in style, his last two sonatas (Piano Sonata No. 3 Op.
58 and Cello Sonata Op. 65) both have stylized tarantellas as finales, and
he wrote a Tarantella for solo piano. He also wrote two Bourees, three
Ecossaises, and a Bolero, so I doubt that "nearly all" of his works are
influenced at all by Polish folk music!
said that there is no reliable evidence indicating that any of the ballades
were inspired by Mickiewicz (or any other poem). All his based on a reference
by Schumann, who wasn't exactly a close confidant of Chopin. In any case
Schumann did not specify any particular poem, he merely said that Chopin had
told him that he was inspired by Mickiewicz. Any more detailed search is
Ondine: There is no documented evidence that Chopin based his
Ballades on specific poems of Mickiewicz. However, Mickiewicz did write
"ballads", Chopin was familiar with them and may have been influenced in a
general way by the idea of a dramatic narrative. The two men did know each
other in Paris, but had an uneasy relationship. They were both influenced by
similar cultural aspects of the time, the unsuccessful uprising of the Poles
against the Russians and the concept of "zal."
that the term "romantic," as applied to works of art, is generally used to
mean an approach to art which is subjective, irregular, even exotic, as
distinguished from the "classical" approach. Whereas classicism attempts to
set up objective, universal standards of beauty from which an artist must not
depart, romanticism exalts the artist's personal vision, which may find
beauty, or at least meaning and truth, in things that many or even most people
would not find worthy of exaltation.
One quote which I think is quite revealing of the classical approach to art
comes from a letter written by Mozart. In it he says that regardless of what
music is attempting to express, it must always be beautiful, or, in Mozart's
words, it must never cease to be music. To Mozart, whose music is the
apotheosis of classicism, nothing, not even the portrayal of ugly things,
could justify the writing of ugly music. By contrast, several decades later
Giuseppe Verdi wrote a letter concerning the casting of his opera Macbeth, in
which he remarked that a certain singer was not well suited for the role of
Lady Macbeth because her voice was too beautiful. Lady Macbeth, Verdi said,
should sound like a witch.
Another example, also from Verdi, of the romantic approach to art is the opera
Rigoletto, which was Verdi's first big success. The title character and
central figure of the opera (one hesitates to call him a hero) is a
hunchbacked servant who has his master murdered after the man more or less
rapes his daughter. In a classical era, such a sordid story line would
probably not have been deemed suitable for an opera. And a person like
Rigoletto, if he appeared in an opera at all, would be a minor character and
would not be drawn in such a manner as to engage the audience's feelings and
sympathy. But Verdi's opera, written in the full flower of the Romantic
movement, gives this man music as compelling as that of any character in
opera, and draws the audience into his story and his suffering to a degree
that no Classical composer would have done.
Stendhal said that all art is romantic in its own day. It's hard to know
exactly what he meant by that. Certainly all true artists strive to be
original, at least to some extent, and originality is at the heart of
romanticism. The difference between a classical work of art and a romantic one
is very likely just one of degree. But even so, I still think that artists at
various times in history have approached their art in two fundamentally
different ways, some of them feeling that their first allegiance is to widely
accepted standards and models, and others being more ready to depart from the
teachings of their elders in favor of a more personal vision, even if it is
less likely to be shared by many people. This point of view is apparently held
by enough people that the classical/romantic dichotomy continues to be widely
viewed as a useful way of thinking about art.
that The novel was "Lucrezia Floriani," which Sand began publishing in serial
form in the summer of 1846. The title character is a selfless, long-suffering
woman whose lover, Prince Karol, is a jealous, petty, selfish man who drives
her to an early grave. Chopin's and Sand's friends understood that in the
character of Lucrezia, Sand was depicting herself, and that Prince Karol was
based on Chopin. Chopin never indicated to anyone that he was aware of this,
but an entry in his diary, made after his liason with Sand had ended, makes
clear that he understood what she had done.
In a book entitled "Chopin and the Boundaries," there is a story/novel
(unsure) about Chopin and Sand entitled "Gabriel." It exemplifies Chopin's
nature was more flighty and divinely inspired, rather than attributed to his
sexuality. His compositions were airy and light, reflecting his sexuality,
according to the author.
Autrey said that George Sand's nicknames for Chopin invoked her sense of
his boyishness and his physical frailty: Chip-chip (pronounced I think with a
hard "ch" like in English, not like the French), Chopinet, and Chopinetto.
Among friends and family, Chopin referred to himself as Fryc (pronounced
"Fritz") or Frycek. George Sand referred to her family as the Piffoels, which
I think means "long-noses." She often referred to Maurice as "Bouli." As far
as I know, Solange had no affectionate pet names, but her mother often
referred to her as "the lioness," a nickname that suggests her temper. Chopin
often referred to Solange in letters as "Sol," but I'm not sure if this is
simply an abbreviation, or if this was an actual spoken nickname.
Joe: Chopin referred to Solange as "Soli" in his letters, which
definitely suggests a nickname, not an abreviation. He also addressed his
friend and sometime pupil Adolph Guttman as "dear Gutt."
Phil: Sometimes Sand would joke to Chopin and called him "My dear
Corpse", to play on Chopin's physical weakness.
Halim: For madam sand her nickname is Aurora, for Maurice his
nickname is my son, for Solange: Sol, for Chopin: little one.
CHOPIN : THE POET OF THE PIANO - © by Anh Tran. All rights reserved
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