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Author Topic: Polonaise op.44 (Middle Section before Mazurka)  (Read 7214 times)
Marcelo Castellanos
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« on: December 31, 2009, 10:07:57 PM »

I wasn't sure whether to post this topic here or in the Repertoire section, so please forgive my ignorance. 

I am currently working my way through Chopin's Polonaise in F# minor.  The piece isn't so difficult from a technique point of view, but the interpretation of measures 83-103 and 111-127 is killing me.  I've never really heard anything like it before, nor has my teacher.  I've heard some people ascribe it to sounding like a guitar, which I guess makes sense, but the whole section just seems out of place. 

I would appreciate any input from people who are familiar with the piece.
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piano sheet music of Polonaise
quantum
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« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2009, 10:53:42 PM »

It's a dance.  If we take a look at some of Chopin's other Polonaises there are similar occurrences that contrast the main material.  The trill section in Op. 40/1, the LH octave section in Op. 53. 

You might wish to listen to or watch some polish folk dancing to gain some interpretation ideas. 
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Made a Liszt. Need new Handel's for Soler panel & Alkan foil. Will Faure Stein on the way to pick up Mendels' sohn. Josquin get Wolfgangs Schu with Clara. Gone Chopin, I'll be Bach
Marcelo Castellanos
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« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2010, 05:29:50 AM »

Thank you Quantum.

I am familiar with the Op. 40/1 polonaise, although I'm not intimately familiar with the Heroic, as I've never played or studied the piece. 

However, it seems to me that the opus 40 and later works transcend the typical "dance" nature of the polonaise.  The trill section in 40/1, for example, is particularly difficult for me to imagine anyone actually dancing to.  I do understand the peculiar rhythmic nature of the pieces though. 

Is it possible to get a little more specific?  Is there any imagery perhaps that you can suggest that could give me a clearer picture of how to interpret the particular opus 44 section that I'm having trouble with?  Or maybe some suggestions in regards to overall dynamics and articulation?

I'm thinking more and more that maybe I'm not far enough along musically to really understand what Chopin was going for, maybe that's where the real difficulty lies.  Didn't Rubenstein call Op.44 the most difficult of the Polonaisen?

Regardless, thank you again for your input.
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prongated
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« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2010, 08:21:41 AM »

Is there any imagery perhaps that you can suggest that could give me a clearer picture of how to interpret the particular opus 44 section that I'm having trouble with?  Or maybe some suggestions in regards to overall dynamics and articulation?

Take the following for what it's worth. I actually think of it more as a heroic march than a dance. As such, I think it needs to be solid, carrying a certain dignity, and perhaps most importantly, very rhythmical. When I played it, I used my fingers quite a bit to articulate the fast notes. I also swelled them a little (taking a very tiny, almost imperceptible bit of time in the beginning) so that they lead to the first quaver (or eight) note. I also pedaled them, taking the pedal off when I get to the said quaver note.

Those quaver notes are marked staccato if I remember correctly? Even so, you want them to have weight so that they don't sound flippant. And dynamic-wise, it is marked forte throughout is it not? Even so, you may like to play around a little with the dynamics, based on the harmonic changes and also where each group leads to.

Didn't Rubenstein call Op.44 the most difficult of the Polonaisen?

Maybe, but I think the Polonaise-Fantaisie op. 61 is generally regarded as the most difficult, given the musical maturity required to approach it.
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