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The Man Who Died on Stage at Carnegie Hall

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Author Topic: Pianist's decision to modify Chopin (1st ballade)  (Read 1206 times)
argerich_smitten
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« on: July 30, 2004, 07:19:32 AM »

I have been listening to the 4 chopin ballades on 'repeat' recently, and I find that I always get really angry at the end of the first ballade.  I think the entire piece until the end is so well put together, then at the end, there are these ridiculous ups and downs, dragging the audience emotionally all over the place (it also feels 'jerky' because it sounds like it ends and starts up again un-expectedly).  Anyway, I was going to do something forbidden and make a cut in the last page, probably ending on the chords after the first scale run (although then it doesn't have the powerful ending like it is supposed to).  I was just curious if
1.  anyone else feels this annoyance at the end of the first ballade
2.  what  you think of making a modification to a chopin piece, and if you had to make one to the first ballade, where would you make it
3.  are there are any chopin pieces that you feel allowed to alter
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piano sheet music of Ballade 1
allchopin
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« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2004, 08:34:46 AM »

1) I understand how you feel about the ending - it is quite a tumultuous passage that somehow may seem out of place (mostly due to the accidental grace notes).  However, it does end the piece in an angrier, and gruff way that Chopin wanted.
2) Make all the modifications you want, except know that: a) every time you practice it, you will be playing it incorrectly b) as for the audience, they will be getting a pseudo-ballade; aka, you will not be giving them the full performance of the piece c) people may notice and think that you are not devoted to championing Chopin's music
3) Making modifications is always up to the performer.  However, if performing in front of others who are expecting a Chopin performance, I personally would prefer if the performer gave what was expected.  As for modifying the Ballade to match your tastes, I would try to alter it as little as possible (such as just changing slightly the dynamics and/or articulation of the final octaves) to retain the original character of the passage, yet develop it to your personal style.
It all depends on if you believe in being true to the composer and his original composition   :-/.
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Max
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« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2004, 01:20:48 PM »

Who's recording do you have? If it isn't the one you have, I recommend Pollinis - all 4 of them are beautifully played by him.

And..

1.  Not really, no.
2.  I think you should be very careful about making modifications - definatly not the end of Ballade 1, it gives a lot of character to the piece.
3.  No.
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sharon_f
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« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2004, 01:53:39 PM »

1. No.
2. I wouldn't.
3. No.


I've heard many performances of the Ballade, both live and on recordings. A lot is at stake on that last page and I've always viewed the "success" of the performance on how that last page is interpreted.
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There are two means of refuge from the misery of life - music and cats.
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Hmoll
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« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2004, 06:13:13 PM »

^^^^

What she said.

Chopin knew what he was doing, and he did not want to end the piece without a cadence.
Also, the emotion of this piece is  tragic, and the ending - including the octaves - brings out that feeling of tragedy.
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