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Chopin Fantasy in F MInor, Op. 49 (Read 10721 times)

Offline steinway43

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Chopin Fantasy in F MInor, Op. 49
« on: November 09, 2010, 07:47:39 PM »
I was learning this in high school but my teacher wouldn't let me make the slight changes that Cliburn made to it on his famous "My Favorite Chopin" album. Even though what he did made perfect sense, I was told "play what's written or don't play it at all." So I dropped it. As it turns out, Kissen has recorded this and makes most of the same changes. How is it ok for them to do this but not anyone else? That's rubbish if you ask me. Both play a B-flat Octave instead of E-flat in the left hand on beat one of bars 112 and 116. If you're familiar with the piece you understand the reasoning, see bars 279 and 283. You cannot tell me they're right but I'm wrong.

I'm curious as to how teachers would respond to this. It's one of a number of pieces I've been brushing up while thinking of performing again, but I don't want controversy. 


piano sheet music of Fantasia


Offline quantum

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Re: Chopin Fantasy in F MInor, Op. 49
«Reply #1 on: November 09, 2010, 08:05:24 PM »
Some teachers only like to go by the book, and never look beyond.  

The truth is there are many discrepancies in Chopin's scores.  Chopin sent his manuscripts to multiple publishers at the same time.  He was also noted for changing items in his scores.   There exists a multitude of primary sources for any given piece.  Some things may not agree with each other.  

For a new music student, sticking closely to the score will get you into the mindset of following the detailed instructions you may find.  However, as one grows in ability and experience, one gains knowledge to question items in the music.  To an advanced musician and music scholar this may form part of their interpretation.  IMO the ability to question and think critically is much more valuable in learning music than the ability to play the score verbatim.

The Fantasy is far from a beginner piece, and by the time one acquires the technique to play it one should have gained foresight to see things that don't look right.  

If you can logically reason and present your argument on why certain elements of a score may be wanting for changes, by all means play it that way.  It becomes more a matter of how well you can prove a point, than if you are right or wrong.  
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

Offline thalbergmad

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Re: Chopin Fantasy in F MInor, Op. 49
«Reply #2 on: November 09, 2010, 08:18:34 PM »
Even though what he did made perfect sense, I was told "play what's written or don't play it at all." So I dropped it.

I would be more inclined to drop your teacher.

Thal
Curator/Director
Concerto Preservation Society

Offline stevebob

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Re: Chopin Fantasy in F MInor, Op. 49
«Reply #3 on: November 09, 2010, 09:13:37 PM »
I agree with play what's written or don't play it at all in principle, but it gets slippery when what’s “written” differs from edition to edition.  You’re not proposing to an arbitrary change just for the hell of it, after all; neither are Cliburn, Kissin and the other professionals who play the passage as you describe.

This is from the Commentary to the Henle edition:

Quote
“Many editions draw on M 279 and 283 here and present octave B♭2/B♭1 instead of E♭1/E♭; same in M 116; however, not found in any source.”

For what it’s worth, Joseffy and Scholtz are among those editors who deviate from known sources to make the harmony consistent in these parallel passages.  (The Joseffy was my study score, and I wasn’t even aware of this discrepancy until now!)  Playing bars 112 and 116 with the octave on B♭ rather than E♭ seems like a defensible choice to me even if it’s apparently inauthentic.
What passes you ain't for you.

Offline pianist1976

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Re: Chopin Fantasy in F MInor, Op. 49
«Reply #4 on: November 09, 2010, 10:27:23 PM »
The only edition I own of Fantasie Op 49 is Paderewski. In the critical notes the editors wrote:

Quote
Bars 112 and 116: Although the original french edition, Breitkopf and even Mikulli's have the octave E flat - E flat in the bass in the beginning of these bars, we accepted the change introduced by recent editions by analogy to bars 279 and 283. It's obvious that only the extension of the keyboard obliged Chopin to modify the most adequate version.

(the translation is mine, my edition is not the English one, sorry for the inaccuracies).

At least in the time the Pad. Edition was published, the Chopin's autograph of this work was unavailable. Also, by the time Fantasie was written, the lower key available was C in the bass. Probably the last piano Chopin owned reached the A but, as I know, there are no known late hour corrections of the works made by Chopin in the cases that they could benefice from the wider keyboard extension.

So here comes one eternal dilemma for the piano performer: to use or not to use the wider extension of our keyboards in the works composed in a shorter keyboard. We must guess if the use of the wider extension would be approved or if it was even intended by the composer but frustrated by the actual extension of it.

(My personal opinion is that the B flat works harmonically better and has a greater musical and aesthetic effect. I think that Chopin intended to write it but he wrote E flat instead due to the lack of lower notes on the piano he owned while composed this and another works).

Offline solstyce

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Re: Chopin Fantasy in F MInor, Op. 49
«Reply #5 on: November 10, 2010, 02:45:00 AM »
Ok any teacher who tells you to play by the book or don't play obviously doesn't know what playing piano is all about. Its about playing piano, making a beautiful melody, and what made classical so amazing is how unpredictable it is. So, there is nothing wrong with improvising. If your teacher can't see that, they need to ask them selves why they are playing piano in the first place.

Offline wiggityp

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Re: Chopin Fantasy in F MInor, Op. 49
«Reply #6 on: November 10, 2010, 05:12:51 AM »

If you can logically reason and present your argument on why certain elements of a score may be wanting for changes, by all means play it that way.  It becomes more a matter of how well you can prove a point, than if you are right or wrong.  

Exceedingly well said! That's some sound advice, the sort you'd get from moles or dwarves. Have you spent much time underground? LOL.
"Do you think I worry about your damn fiddle when the spirit speaks to me?"

Offline stevebob

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Re: Chopin Fantasy in F MInor, Op. 49
«Reply #7 on: November 10, 2010, 11:38:14 AM »
Exceedingly well said! That's some sound advice, the sort you'd get from moles or dwarves. Have you spent much time underground? LOL.

That's the sort of comment I'd expect from a troll.  Just sayin'.

Ok any teacher who tells you to play by the book or don't play obviously doesn't know what playing piano is all about. Its about playing piano, making a beautiful melody, and what made classical so amazing is how unpredictable it is. So, there is nothing wrong with improvising. If your teacher can't see that, they need to ask them selves why they are playing piano in the first place.

Nothing questionable about that, I guess.   ::)
What passes you ain't for you.

Offline wiggityp

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Re: Chopin Fantasy in F MInor, Op. 49
«Reply #8 on: November 10, 2010, 09:18:15 PM »
That's the sort of comment I'd expect from a troll.  Just sayin'.


Hey man, I've gotten enough guff over the years for being a piano playing troll; I thought pianostreet would be a place that's beyond such prejudices. So what if no one can get within earshot of me playing because of my troll B.O.?! I've still got feelings! You...you monster!
"Do you think I worry about your damn fiddle when the spirit speaks to me?"

Offline stevebob

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Re: Chopin Fantasy in F MInor, Op. 49
«Reply #9 on: November 10, 2010, 09:42:51 PM »
Perhaps I misunderstood what you meant.  Does one get sound advice then from moles and dwarves?  I didn't know; it's tough for me even to figure out what my dog and cats are trying to communicate.  :)

You seem to have thick skin and a sense of humor.  I like that.  Welcome!
What passes you ain't for you.

Offline wiggityp

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Re: Chopin Fantasy in F MInor, Op. 49
«Reply #10 on: November 10, 2010, 10:32:36 PM »
Thanks stevebob! For the record moles and dwarves do usually present soundly logical advice on all accounts. However I forget that some folks don't live in Middle Earth with me and Gandalf. Ha! Anyways thanks very much for the welcome; I'm very excited to be here.
"Do you think I worry about your damn fiddle when the spirit speaks to me?"

Offline quantum

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Re: Chopin Fantasy in F MInor, Op. 49
«Reply #11 on: November 10, 2010, 11:53:03 PM »
So, there is nothing wrong with improvising.

Indeed!  Chopin was noted for his improvising ability. 

It is quite sad that many today's classical musicians do not direct as much importance to improvisation, as the master composers of the works they perform once did. 

Exceedingly well said! That's some sound advice, the sort you'd get from moles or dwarves. Have you spent much time underground? LOL.

Academia has its quirks  ;)  Burrowing holes in the earth is part of the job.  Sometimes you are given a toothpick to mine granite. 
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

Offline steinway43

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Re: Chopin Fantasy in F MInor, Op. 49
«Reply #12 on: November 13, 2010, 04:19:22 AM »
Thanks for all the great comments. It was a relief to find people confirming my own inclinations.

Oh, and the teacher who told me to "play what's written or else" got her master's at Indiana studying with Pressler.


Offline avanzant

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Re: Chopin Fantasy in F MInor, Op. 49
«Reply #13 on: November 13, 2010, 09:52:38 AM »
.

Offline stevebob

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Re: Chopin Fantasy in F MInor, Op. 49
«Reply #14 on: November 13, 2010, 12:08:35 PM »
Could you elaborate on "the more popular choices of alterations"?
What passes you ain't for you.

Offline fleetfingers

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Re: Chopin Fantasy in F MInor, Op. 49
«Reply #15 on: November 13, 2010, 05:10:42 PM »
I'm curious as to how teachers would respond to this.

I wonder if she was intimidated by your suggestions??? Perhaps it would have been a challenge for her to teach you something that you were more familiar with than she was.  Or, maybe you were better at improvising, and she wanted to keep you in your place. ;) Just a thought.

Offline stevebob

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Re: Chopin Fantasy in F MInor, Op. 49
«Reply #16 on: November 13, 2010, 06:01:03 PM »
The original poster played a commonly accepted (if spurious) ossia.  Where was the improvisation?
What passes you ain't for you.

Offline ponken

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Re: Chopin Fantasy in F MInor, Op. 49
«Reply #17 on: November 16, 2010, 01:12:01 PM »
I see nothing wrong with playing differently than the score says as long as it sounds good.

Offline steinway43

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Re: Chopin Fantasy in F MInor, Op. 49
«Reply #18 on: May 07, 2013, 06:29:42 PM »
I wonder if she was intimidated by your suggestions??? Perhaps it would have been a challenge for her to teach you something that you were more familiar with than she was.  Or, maybe you were better at improvising, and she wanted to keep you in your place. ;) Just a thought.

Hmm, well she WAS a control freak!

Offline musanim

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Re: Chopin Fantasy in F MInor, Op. 49
«Reply #19 on: March 20, 2018, 03:06:04 AM »
I was told "play what's written or don't play it at all."
...
I'm curious as to how teachers would respond to this. It's one of a number of pieces I've been brushing up while thinking of performing again, but I don't want controversy.

What's wrong with a little controversy?   :P

If you're working with a teacher, you need to ... work with your teacher.  If you can't convince them to let you make changes, then learn to play it both ways.

Being 100% faithful to the score is a modern fetish.  If you're into that fetish, fine, but if you're not, then follow your own instincts, do whatever you think is best, and succeed or fail on your own merit.

Stephen

P.S. You might enjoy watching this:

Offline mjames

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Re: Chopin Fantasy in F MInor, Op. 49
«Reply #20 on: March 20, 2018, 05:39:23 AM »
It really is funny and quite sad to see so many pianists have an aversion towards improvisation, when the composers they loved improvised frequently and cared little about sheet music authenticity. Seriously if Chopin didn't care about it, frequently changed his works as he played them in public, why should you? Be adventurous man, modify melodies, change the harmonies, add some counterpoint...at least add some *** grace notes! No one's going to come out and murder you for it. Jesus.


and wow what a necro