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Chopin Ballade No 1 in G Minor (Read 5964 times)

Offline soulmusic

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Chopin Ballade No 1 in G Minor
« on: June 12, 2008, 10:45:50 AM »
Hi 
I am a researcher for BBC Radio 4 based in the UK. I am making a series of programmes about how particular pieces of music have affected people who play and listen to them. In particular, I am looking for people who have special stories to tell about their feelings for Chopin's Ballade No 1 in G Minor OP23. Maybe they heard it or played it at a very special time in their lives. And maybe they still have strong memories of this that they would be willing to tell me about.
If you have a particular connection to this piece of music and would be interested to speak to me please contact me on soulmusic@bbc.co.uk

Many thanks
Rachael Howorth

piano sheet music of Ballade 1


Offline faulty_damper

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Re: Chopin Ballade No 1 in G Minor
«Reply #1 on: June 12, 2008, 01:24:21 PM »
What if someone isn't fond of the piece?  Or perhaps they don't even like it?  Would a reason why he doesn't like the piece be interesting?

Offline soulmusic

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Re: Chopin Ballade No 1 in G Minor
«Reply #2 on: June 12, 2008, 01:47:15 PM »
What if someone isn't fond of the piece?  Or perhaps they don't even like it?  Would a reason why he doesn't like the piece be interesting?
Thank you for your suggestion but the programme will be a celebration of Chopin's Ballade No 1 rather than a balanced discussion about it. We will be exploring the reasons people love it, what it makes them feel and remember. There might be bitter sweet memories amongst these but I think we are starting from a standpoint of liking the piece.
That said  - may I ask why you don't like it?
Rachael

Offline Petter

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Re: Chopin Ballade No 1 in G Minor
«Reply #3 on: June 12, 2008, 07:38:45 PM »
I believe some pianists think it´s overplayed.
"A gentleman is someone who knows how to play an accordion, but doesn't." - Al Cohn

Offline dnephi

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Re: Chopin Ballade No 1 in G Minor
«Reply #4 on: June 12, 2008, 07:54:08 PM »
For us musicians, the music of Beethoven is the pillar of fire and cloud of mist which guided the Israelites through the desert.  (Roughly quoted, Franz Liszt.)

Offline invictious

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Re: Chopin Ballade No 1 in G Minor
«Reply #5 on: June 13, 2008, 09:21:34 AM »
It's the sheer power of the piece, and the passion behind those notes is what makes this piece loved by many people.

I just have this feeling that lay people don't truly understand the meaning behind this piece though. A
Bach - Partita No.2
Scriabin - Etude 8/12
Debussy - L'isle Joyeuse
Liszt - Un Sospiro

Goal:
Prokofiev - Toccata

>LISTEN<

Offline soulmusic

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Re: Chopin Ballade No 1 in G Minor
«Reply #6 on: June 13, 2008, 10:16:33 AM »
You might find this discussion interesting: http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?/topic/2/16093.html.



Many thanks dnephi - thats really helpful

Offline dan101

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Re: Chopin Ballade No 1 in G Minor
«Reply #7 on: June 15, 2008, 06:19:54 PM »
My former teacher and mentor, Sir Kendall Taylor (RCM) had some wonderful insight into this work. Having studied it with him, he shared his analysis with me, and in a masterclass setting.

Basiclly, he found it to be a favorable work, with the exception of the second subjects return in the key of Eb major. To him, from what I recall, he wished for this subject to have been written in a brighter key. I always found this to be an interesting point.

This is a wonderful piece. Good luck with your research. 
Daniel E. Friedman, owner of www.musicmasterstudios.com
You CAN learn to play the piano and compose in a fun and effective way.

Offline mike_lang

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Re: Chopin Ballade No 1 in G Minor
«Reply #8 on: June 15, 2008, 06:59:00 PM »
with the exception of the second subjects return in the key of Eb major. To him, from what I recall, he wished for this subject to have been written in a brighter key.

Perhaps, but we long to have the Eb from the opening segment resolved, and Chopin does it through the 2nd theme statement, the V/gm pedal section, and the coda.  I think the most one can hope for, and in fact does get, is the statement in AM in the middle of the piece.


Offline faulty_damper

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Re: Chopin Ballade No 1 in G Minor
«Reply #9 on: June 15, 2008, 08:38:39 PM »
My former teacher and mentor, Sir Kendall Taylor (RCM) had some wonderful insight into this work. Having studied it with him, he shared his analysis with me, and in a masterclass setting.

Basiclly, he found it to be a favorable work, with the exception of the second subjects return in the key of Eb major. To him, from what I recall, he wished for this subject to have been written in a brighter key. I always found this to be an interesting point.

This may be true now using A440 as the standard pitch but how would it have sounded using the standard when Chopin wrote this piece?  Clearly, it would be different because most of Chopin's works sound better transposed down at least a half step.  I first heard Earl Wild mention this and he's right!  So many of his pieces sound better transposed down that I'm actually transposing pieces a half or a whole tone down so they sound better, perhaps more natural the way Chopin intended.

Offline life77

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Re: Chopin Ballade No 1 in G Minor
«Reply #10 on: June 16, 2008, 08:16:32 AM »
Hi soulmusic,
 I tried to e-mail to you but failed. Hence, i post my reply here:

A soulful rendition by Cortot (1929 edition) is enough to make my heart cry out : "Is there any more beautiful music and drama than this piece?" Introspective, tender, passionate, laden with many emotions, are Chopin's genius in composing this piece. Cortot's interpretation is my favourite. He is intimate, personal and experiments with varied tonal colours just enough to whet the listener's appetite for more. How this piece must have mesmerised many women at the salon when the composer, Chopin played it in his times. Cortot, being the Chopin specialist, layers the music with clarity, technical virtuosity and sensitivity. Genius Chopin meets genius Cortot at their best in this piece. Lyrical beauty is at its best in this piece.

I cannot withhold my tears when I hear this piece. I remember the times when my late father and I conversed in my native language, Mandarin, and we shared moments of divine exchange together. I remember when my father passed away, his eyes were closing at the ebb of his life. This music suits the memory; it replays a memory of beautiful times once treasured, now forever gone. The joys and pains of a life once so strong, yet so frail on the hospital bed, is what the music symbolises to me. The cycle of life, as illustrated by the music; the celebration of life, as crafted by the musician in this Ballade, are what this piece means to me.

Chopin holds a special place in my heart. His music is universal.

Offline slobone

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Re: Chopin Ballade No 1 in G Minor
«Reply #11 on: June 17, 2008, 09:23:17 PM »
This may be true now using A440 as the standard pitch but how would it have sounded using the standard when Chopin wrote this piece?  Clearly, it would be different because most of Chopin's works sound better transposed down at least a half step.  I first heard Earl Wild mention this and he's right!  So many of his pieces sound better transposed down that I'm actually transposing pieces a half or a whole tone down so they sound better, perhaps more natural the way Chopin intended.
I don't know if I go along with that. I can't imagine playing the Bb minor nocturne in A minor, for example.

I think the distribution of white keys and black keys was actually quite important to Chopin. If you think they should be played lower, re-tune your piano...

Offline faulty_damper

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Re: Chopin Ballade No 1 in G Minor
«Reply #12 on: June 17, 2008, 11:48:51 PM »
I don't know what the exact standard pitch was during Chopin's lifetime but I know for sure it wasn't so bright with A being 440.  When you consider that Chopin's written music was initiated from improvisation, when he was listening to tone instead of a key, it makes sense that it probably sounds better the way he actually heard it.

When I transposed some of his nocturnes, etudes, and other pieces, they did indeed sound better.  Some of the pieces became more uncomfortable to the hands when I went from a black plateau to a more white one but that's the not the fault of the music - that's the fault of modern tuning.

There's only one way to verify this for yourself.  Go and play the G minor ballade in a lower key and you may find the character of the music to be very different.  Perhaps you'll even prefer it in the lower key.  I certainly do.

Offline slobone

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Re: Chopin Ballade No 1 in G Minor
«Reply #13 on: June 18, 2008, 03:20:41 AM »
No doubt -- but how the piece feels under your fingers is also an important part of the experience of playing. So there's a dilemma there.

In the aforementioned Bb nocturne, for example, I always get the feeling that the piece is literally edgy because so many of the notes are on the black keys. It makes it seem all the more nocturnal, like you're playing it in the dark at 3 am with moonlight coming in the window. And there's something about the arrangement of black keys and white keys that I just enjoy playing. I admit that's hopelessly subjective...

Offline faulty_damper

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Re: Chopin Ballade No 1 in G Minor
«Reply #14 on: June 18, 2008, 06:10:09 AM »
Quote
No doubt -- but how the piece feels under your fingers is also an important part of the experience of playing.

But this only concerns the pianist, not the listener.

Offline soulmusic

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Re: Chopin Ballade No 1 in G Minor
«Reply #15 on: June 18, 2008, 04:12:15 PM »
Hi soulmusic,
 I tried to e-mail to you but failed. Hence, i post my reply here:

I'm really sorry that my address wasn't working when you first tried, it should be working now!

Thank you so much for your thoughts on this piece of music. It would be wonderful if you could try to email me again on soulmusic@bbc.co.uk as I was really interested to hear what you think about the music.

I look forward to hearing from you.

With regards

Rachael