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Topic: chopins preludes  (Read 13614 times)

Offline mark1

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chopins preludes
on: February 19, 2004, 06:33:25 AM
I am a die hard fan of chopins music but I fail to see the merit in some of his preludes. He's got the market cornered on nocturnes, walzes, ballades and so on...but what of the preludes. Some of them seem to be composed just for the sake of being composed. Enlighten me please!!!                                        Mark ???
"...just when you think you're right, you're wrong."

Offline comme_le_vent

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Re: chopins preludes
Reply #1 on: February 19, 2004, 02:06:32 PM
i dont have a clue what your talkin about, the preludes are among his greatest work, some are among the very best pieces chopin wrote, especially the last one in d minor. none of them are bad, which ones don't you like?
https://www.chopinmusic.net/sdc/

Great artists aim for perfection, while knowing that perfection itself is impossible, it is the driving force for them to be the best they can be - MC Hammer

Offline mark1

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Re: chopins preludes
Reply #2 on: February 19, 2004, 04:53:29 PM
My mistake! I confused one of my cd's... but i agree that the dminor is probably one the the better ones. That's what you get for buying a cd with multiple composers on it...ya never sure who you're listening to! Till next time...  Mark :D
"...just when you think you're right, you're wrong."

Offline allchopin

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Re: chopins preludes
Reply #3 on: February 19, 2004, 11:51:05 PM
Well I'd like to know what pieces/composers you didn't think were so hot...
A modern house without a flush toilet... uncanny.

Offline bernhard

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Re: chopins preludes
Reply #4 on: February 20, 2004, 01:46:20 AM
Quote
I am a die hard fan of chopins music but I fail to see the merit in some of his preludes. He's got the market cornered on nocturnes, walzes, ballades and so on...but what of the preludes. Some of them seem to be composed just for the sake of being composed. Enlighten me please!!!                                        Mark ???



If you can (as Allchopin said) supply specific preludes, we can discuss them in more detail.

In general:

Chopin’s preludes are amongst the most profound of his compositions – if not the most profound. They were composed quite late in his life and were not “salon” pieces as many of his waltzes, mazurkas and nocturnes. I have the impression that he might have been growing dissatisfied with his more “commercial” and easy listening production, and decide to do something really different where no concession at all were made. He took advantage of the free-form of the prelude to expand his compositional output. They are obviously an homage to J.S. Bach 48, a composer he greatly admired, hence 24 preludes one in each key.

They are unique in several aspects. They were published as single collection (no other of Chopin’s works apart from the studies was published in this form), which gives credence to Claudio Arrau’s (and others) view that they were a cycle and frequently played them in concert without any break between them. I think there is great merit in this idea. (Chopin himself never played more than 3 or 4 in concert – but audiences were quite different then).

Eleanor Bailie describes them as “starkly epigrammatic ejaculations of fury and violence, besides moments of thistledown lightness of spirit, of incorporeality, grandeur or grinding despair”.

But perhaps most interestingly is how much they depart from the expected. If these preludes were to appear from nowhere, would we say they are by Chopin? Would we even be able to correctly identify the period? Harmonically they are amazingly modern, and although each one concentrates on a single musical idea, each one explores the totality of feeling, shade and colour in that idea.

Perhaps the greatest difficulty in playing them is how short they are: the performer must capture instantly the mood and spirit of each one. My favourite recordings of them are by Claudio Arrau (Phillips), Martha Argerich (DG and Ivo Pogorelich (DG). Their interpretations are very individual, and this can give you an idea of how much interpretative room  there is in these miniatures.

I now have grown tired of Chopin’s Waltzes, Mazurkas and Nocturnes. Yet I can still listen to these preludes and feel like I am listening to them for the first time. Schumann called them “Eagle’s wings” and right he was.

If you can’t see what the whole fuss is all about, play them. Most of them are not technically difficult (although some require the utmost virtuosity – no. 5, 12, 16, 18, 19 and 24). Musically they are all infinite in their possibilities. My favourites amongst all of Chopin’s pieces. :D

Best wishes,
Bernhard.
The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)

Offline mark1

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Re: chopins preludes
Reply #5 on: February 20, 2004, 06:32:57 AM
it's always nice when you get a reponse, even if was sparked by ones own ignorance...mine. Bernhard explained it, as he usually does, in a simply easy to understand manner. Thank you! When these preludes are played in respect to eachother, they make sense to me. At first, prelude 2 wasn't cuttin' the butter, but now I understand. As for what composers aren't too hot...not gonna' go there... I don't want to put fuel on someone elses fire. Once again, thanks. :-[
"...just when you think you're right, you're wrong."

Offline mark1

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Re: chopins preludes
Reply #6 on: February 20, 2004, 04:36:55 PM
Bernhard has a way of clearing everything up...in terms of my ignorance on Chopins preludes! When I listen to them as a whole, one in respect to another, it all makes perfect sense. I am a relatively new listener to Chopin and an even newer interpreter of his music...I stand enlightend! Thank you. Can you help me with understanding prelude 2? On my recording it sort of drones on and on...is this intentional?  :-[
"...just when you think you're right, you're wrong."

Offline comme_le_vent

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Re: chopins preludes
Reply #7 on: February 20, 2004, 05:10:55 PM
yes it is intentional, its a dirge-like piece - dont you know?
its meant to sound like an old man taking his last steps, i believe.
https://www.chopinmusic.net/sdc/

Great artists aim for perfection, while knowing that perfection itself is impossible, it is the driving force for them to be the best they can be - MC Hammer

Offline bernhard

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Re: chopins preludes
Reply #8 on: February 21, 2004, 12:32:29 AM
The second prelude is always a shock if you are used to the Chopin of Waltzes, Mazurkas and Nocturnes. There is no nice melody, no pleasing harmonies, just a very lugubrious and depressing piece. Chopin’s contemporaries were dismayed by it and found it completely incomprehensible.

Now think of it in the context of the prelude that precedes it (no. 1) and the one that follows (no. 3).  No. 1 is an incredible eruption of sound, out of nowhere. In 34  bars and a little less than half a minute it is all over. If you are not careful you miss it completely! Claudio Arrau said that for him it had to do with sexual energy. It was an introduction that put the listener in a very tense emotional state. In his own words “There is something positively orgasmic about it”.

Then comes the second prelude. A most desolate and unforgiving piece. James Huneker (writing at the end of the 19th century) said of it:

“The second prelude is ugly, forlorn, despairing, almost grotesque and discordant […] deepest depression in its sluggish, snake like procession […] aversion to life”

Harmonically is a very strange prelude. Although it is in A minor, it avoids the tonic at all costs and establishes the key subconsciously. It is in A minor, and yet it opens in E minor. Chopin is really pushing the bounds of tonality with this prelude.

Yet, playing it is nothing short of a revelation. It is not difficult technically, but it requires a certain kind of physicality that (to me at least) is very compelling. This is one of these pieces that playing and listening to blend so seemlessly that I for one don’t really care for just listening to it: I have to play it myself.

Then it is immediately followed by no. 3 in G major, a sunny, delightful and exhilarating piece. Arrau linked number 3 with Spring and friendly landscapes. Yet part of the delight in no. 3 surely comes from being preceded by the stark no. 2.

Although pianists like Hans von Bullow and Alfred Cortot supplied programmatic interpretations for all the preludes, Chopin never did so (and probably turned on his grave with the things that Bullow and Cortot said). He abhorred program music and never gave any clue about what each prelude is all about.

So I can only say that this is pure genius.  :D
The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)

Offline The Tempest

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Re: chopins preludes
Reply #9 on: February 21, 2004, 02:07:25 PM
“There is something positively orgasmic about it”.


Man, Arrau was an old pervert. :D
"Music owes almost as great a debt to Bach as religion does to its founder."

Robert Schumann

Offline bernhard

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Re: chopins preludes
Reply #10 on: February 21, 2004, 07:08:34 PM
He was probaly a young pervert as well. Remember that behind that German façade lied a dark latino lover!

He was also into yoga at a time when yoga was completley unknonw in the West (Tantra? the Kama Sutra?) ;)

As a young man in Berlin he was famous for being an accomplished salon dancer.

And his wife was a babe! :D
The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)

Offline mark1

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Re: chopins preludes
Reply #11 on: February 22, 2004, 12:34:56 AM
the things you learn online... :)
"...just when you think you're right, you're wrong."

Offline comme_le_vent

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Re: chopins preludes
Reply #12 on: February 23, 2004, 05:35:02 PM
yeah arrau's wife was pretty hot, but arrau himself looked pretty rough. do you think it was his piano skills that attracted her to him, or something we dont know about?  ;)
https://www.chopinmusic.net/sdc/

Great artists aim for perfection, while knowing that perfection itself is impossible, it is the driving force for them to be the best they can be - MC Hammer

Offline allchopin

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Re: chopins preludes
Reply #13 on: February 23, 2004, 11:32:22 PM
Quote
yeah arrau's wife was pretty hot, but arrau himself looked pretty rough. do you think it was his piano skills that attracted her to him, or something we dont know about?  ;)

Quote
chopins preludes

I don't see any shred of correlation.

Quote
If you can (as Allchopin said) supply specific preludes, we can discuss them in more detail.

No, that's not what I meant.  Mark said that he mis-took the preludes on the CD for Chopin's when in reality, they were not.  I wanted to know what composer they really were (that he was discriminating against  ;)).
A modern house without a flush toilet... uncanny.

Offline bernhard

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Re: chopins preludes
Reply #14 on: February 24, 2004, 12:12:07 AM
Quote


I don't see any shred of correlation.



The correlation came from Arrau's statement that the first prelude was "orgasmic". This (naturally) led to a discussion of his sexual life.  ;)

So to explore the correlation further:

By Arrau's own account, he was a very shy young man in Berlin in the 30s.

His (future) wife went to see him play and was so impressed (she was an Opera singer) that she asked for piano lessons. (So as you can see – as it is often the case – she was after Arrau much before he got the hint).

In any case, Arrau gave her a few piano lessons and eventually mustered enough courage to ask her out dancing. She was not looking forward to it very much since in her experience musicians were usually terrible dancers. To her great surprise Arrau was an expert ball room dancer. Unknown to her Arrau had been going to psychoanalysis sections for a number of years and on the advice of his psychoanalyst, he had been taking dance lessons and going to dance halls as a way of fighting his shyness, and being the sort of obsessive perfectionist he was, soon he was very good at it. And he had collected a string of girlfriends on the strength of his dancing skills.

Still according to him, his wife was the prettiest girl in Hamburg, and her photographs certainly provide strong evidence for his statement. Arrau married quite late (he was 34), and he does not mention the Kama Sutra, but then he wouldn’t, would he?

In conclusion: Impress the girls with pianistic skills. Then impress them by being an expert dancer. Then use the Kama Sutra. It worked for him. On the other hand is it worth all the bother? ;D

Best wishes,
Bernhard.
The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)

Offline comme_le_vent

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Re: chopins preludes
Reply #15 on: February 24, 2004, 12:30:03 AM
for a hottie like her....me thinks so!  ;D
https://www.chopinmusic.net/sdc/

Great artists aim for perfection, while knowing that perfection itself is impossible, it is the driving force for them to be the best they can be - MC Hammer

Offline mark1

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Re: chopins preludes
Reply #16 on: February 24, 2004, 06:16:14 PM
The composer I mistook chopin for is but a mystery. The recording has no case or cardboard sleeve and there is no listing  on the cd itself. Sorry Allchpoin :)
"...just when you think you're right, you're wrong."

Offline allchopin

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Re: chopins preludes
Reply #17 on: February 25, 2004, 05:16:35 AM
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The composer I mistook chopin for is but a mystery. The recording has no case or cardboard sleeve and there is no listing  on the cd itself. Sorry Allchpoin :)

Eh, well, we'll have to just assume then that the dull composer was Bach.

Quote
The correlation came from Arrau's statement that the first prelude was "orgasmic". This (naturally) led to a discussion of his sexual life.

Therein lies the joke.... man, jokes are just wasted on people like you, Bernhard.  :D (should have put it in the 'pianist jokes' thread?)
A modern house without a flush toilet... uncanny.

Offline bernhard

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Re: chopins preludes
Reply #18 on: February 25, 2004, 09:42:17 AM
Quote


Therein lies the joke.... man, jokes are just wasted on people like you, Bernhard.  :D (should have put it in the 'pianist jokes' thread?)


Er...

It sounded more like a complaint than a joke to me.

On the other hand, I thought I was making a very good joke by putting "Naturally" in brackets. (remember your parenthetical notation?) Clearly it was wasted on you.

But then perhaps we may just need to polish (Chopin?) our joke telling skills.

;D
The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)

Offline allchopin

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Re: chopins preludes
Reply #19 on: February 26, 2004, 12:28:54 AM
See the problem is, ironies being used like toilet paper in a forum just isn't effectively effected in writing.
Re-check that notation usage- it's all here in this pamphlet https://www.pianoforum.net/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.cgi?board=nopi;action=display;num=1075499411

As for polishing my jokes, eh.... you apply the wax, I'll take it off.
A modern house without a flush toilet... uncanny.

Offline scriabinsmyman

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Re: chopins preludes
Reply #20 on: March 18, 2004, 05:24:23 PM
CHOPIN's PRELUDES?!?!  Are you out of your mind??  I agree that they're not as flamboyant as his polonaises, mazurkas, etudes, fantasies, or ballades, but they have so much meaning!!  They help define Chopin as a composer!

Offline scriabinsmyman

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Re: chopins preludes
Reply #21 on: March 21, 2004, 08:15:04 AM
Mark 1- i suggest you learn preludes 1, 4, 8, 13, 15, 16, 18, and 24...get back to me and tell me what you think then!
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