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Sunday, March 2, 2014

Chopin Documentary - The Women behind the Music

Chopin Documentary - The Women behind the Music 

March 1 is Frédéric Chopin's birthday - although some people celebrate it on February 22nd. 


As written by Jeremy Nicholas: Few composers command such universal love as Chopin; even fewer have such a high proportion of their entire output remaining in the active repertoire. He’s the only great composer whose every work involves the piano – no symphonies, operas or choral works and only a handful of compositions that involve other instruments. He wrote just under 200 works; 169 of these are for solo piano.

This documentary is about the life of the great pianist and composer Chopin and the story of the women whose voices inspired his music. It is undeniable that Chopin revolutionized the nature of music composed for the piano both technically and emotionally. What is less well known is that the actual musical instrument that provided his greatest source of inspiration was the female voice.

To mark the 200th anniversary of Chopin's birth, this film follows young pianist James Rhodes on a journey to Warsaw, Paris and London to discover the real women who had such a powerful influence on the composer.

Exploring the events of Chopin's life, Rhodes encounters the singers who enchanted the composer with their voices: Konstancja, a young soprano and the object of his teenage affections; Delfina, the sexually notorious Polish Parisian emigre countess; fellow composer and opera singer Pauline Viardot; and, during the final few months of his life, the Swedish operatic superstar Jenny Lind.

Threaded through the narrative of the film is a selection of Chopin's piano music performed by Rhodes, while rising young opera singer Natalya Romaniw performs some of the signature arias that thrilled Chopin.

Featuring contributions from Chopin experts including the interpreters Emanuel Ax and Garrick Ohlsson, his biographer Adam Zamoyski and piano guru Jeremy Siepmann.

Chopin’s extant compositions were written primarily for the piano as a solo instrument. Though they are technically demanding his style emphasizes nuance and expressive depth.

Chopin invented musical forms such as the ballade and was responsible for major innovations in forms such as the piano sonata, waltz, nocturne, étude, impromptu and prélude. His works are mainstays and masterpieces of Romanticism in 19th-century classical music.

Frédéric Chopin's four ballades are one-movement pieces for solo piano, composed between 1835 and 1842. They are some of the most challenging pieces in the standard piano repertoire...
(more on Sviatoslav Richter in Kiev, 1959/60 - Chopin, The Four Ballades & Etudes.....)

The term "ballade" was associated with French poetry until the mid-19th century, when Chopin was among the first to pioneer the ballade as a musical form. The four ballades are said to have been inspired by poet Adam Mickiewicz.The exact inspiration for each individual ballade, however, is unclear and disputed.

It is clear, however, that they are a novel innovation of Chopin's, and that they cannot be placed into another (e.g. the sonata) form. Although they do not conform exactly to Sonata form, the "ballade form" created by Chopin for his 4 ballades is a distinct variant of Sonata form with specific discrepancies, such as the mirror reprise (presenting the two expositional themes in reverse order during the recapitulation).

The ballades have also directly influenced composers such as Franz Liszt and Johannes Brahms who, after Chopin, wrote ballades of their own.

Besides sharing the title, the four ballades are entities distinct from each other. According to composer and music critic Louis Ehlert, "Each [ballade] differs entirely from the others, and they have but one thing in common – their romantic working out and the nobility of their motifs."

Modern theorists have shown, however, that the ballades do have much in common, such as the "ballade meter" (6/4 or 6/8) and certain formal practices like the mirror reprise and delaying the structural dominant.

The four ballades are among the most enduring of Chopin's compositions, and are frequently heard in concert.

The Études by Frédéric Chopin are three sets of solo studies for the piano, There are twenty-seven overall, comprising two separate collections of twelve, numbered Opus 10 and 25, and a set of three without opus number.

Chopin's Études are the foundation of a new system of technical piano playing that was radical and revolutionary the first time they appeared. They are some of the most challenging and evocative pieces of all the works in concert piano repertoire.

Because of this, the music remains popular and often performed in both concert and private stages. Some are so popular they have been given nicknames; arguably the most popular of all is the Revolutionary Étude (Op. 10, No. 12) -- Wikipedia


00:00 - Ballade no.1

08:57- Ballade no.2
16:58 - Ballade no.3
24:30 - Ballade no.4

35:38 - Etude no.1
37:28 - Etude no.3
41:40 - Etude no.4
43:35 - Etude no.10
45:27 - Etude no.12

Pianist: Sviatoslav Richter. This is prime Richter - assertive, direct, richly satisfying, going right to the heart of the music - in a word, classic.

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