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Thread: Chopin: bravura salon swoon-inducer, or great composer?

  1. #46
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    It’s less about defending Chopin and more about responding to a dichotomy.

    Next up - Satie: Composer of armchair music or great composer?

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    Senior Member Larkenfield's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sid James View Post
    It’s less about defending Chopin and more about responding to a dichotomy.

    Next up - Satie: Composer of armchair music or great composer?
    The various sides of Chopin’s nature and music have been commented on. I would also consider him one of the greatest melodist of all time even if he was writing something as simple as one of his Preludes. A salon composer mainly writes on the surface to please rather than being true to his own muse, whether the works are simple or complex. He used to pull his hair out writing certain works and going over and over them. His standards were extremely high.

    George Sand on the Chopin Preludes:

    "His genius was filled with the mysterious sounds of nature, but transformed into sublime equivalents in musical thought, and not through slavish imitation of the actual external sounds. His composition of that night was surely filled with raindrops, resounding clearly on the tiles of the Charterhouse, but it had been transformed in his imagination and in his song into tears falling upon his heart from the sky. ... The gift of Chopin is [the expression of] the deepest and fullest feelings and emotions that have ever existed. He made a single instrument speak a language of infinity. He could often sum up, in ten lines that a child could play, poems of a boundless exaltation, dramas of unequalled power.”



    I entirely agree with her.
    Last edited by Larkenfield; Jun-12-2019 at 09:34.
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  5. #48
    Senior Member Larkenfield's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ras View Post
    I find these objections against Chopin in many ways similar to the "powdered wigs" objections against Haydn. So thank you for defending Chopin, Lark.
    I appreciate that! I’ve heard virtually everything he ever composed over many years and his music has been played in larger concert halls all over the world, even if he didn’t and simply preferred smaller venues because of his smaller sonority on the piano. The spirit behind many of his works could be large, such as his Barcarolle and Fantasy an F minor. But even here, some would dismiss him as being a “miniaturist”.
    Last edited by Larkenfield; Jun-12-2019 at 04:38.
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    Honestly, whatever. I don’t care for splitting hairs and the Satie comment was an attempt at irony.

    In future, I’ll think twice before contributing to a debate where the topic itself is a dichotomy. It’s getting to the point that most threads can be described as such. Logic and the internet rarely go together, do they? It was my mistake to think TC is any different.
    Last edited by Sid James; Jun-12-2019 at 06:35.

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    What true appreciator of Chopin would ever consider him as a "bravura salon swoon-inducer" under any circumstances? He was an inspired artist even when he was being simple and uncomplicated. He had standards much higher than what one might normally consider a "salon" pianist and his appreciators are quite happy to point this out.
    Last edited by Larkenfield; Jun-24-2019 at 01:57.
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    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    When people describe Chopin that way, I often wonder if we are speaking of the same composer... Even as a lay listener, before I ever touched a piano or got into classical music, I could tell his music was filled with immense power and depth. It was only much later when I learned that there were those out there in the world who dismissed him as a "salon" composer.

    And for the record, Erik Satie was a great composer too, but there would be a much stronger argument to make for him as a "salon" artist than Chopin (still wrong).

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    "Spring Waltz" is a 2006 South Korean television series in the genre of romance and melodrama.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spring_Waltz_OST
    If you look at Spring Waltz OST, disc 1 contains a whole bunch of works by Yiruma and disc 2 contains these works by classical music composers:

    Chopin Nocturne in C # minor (쇼팽 녹턴 C#단조)
    Schumann Humoreske (슈만 유모레스크 도입부)
    Chopin Waltz in B minor (쇼팽 왈츠 B단조)
    Chopin Prelude in E minor, Op.28-4 (쇼팽 프렐류드 E단조 작품 28-4)
    Chopin Etude in E major, op.10-3 (쇼팽 에튀드 E장조 작품 10-3) - 이별의 노래
    Tchaikovsky 'Autumn Song' (차이콥스키 '가을의 노래')
    Chopin Nocturne in E♭major, op.9-2 (쇼팽 녹턴 E♭장조 작품 9-2)
    Chopin Etude in E♭minor, op.10-6 (쇼팽 에튀드 E♭단조 작품 10-6)
    Chopin Prelude in D♭Major, op.28-15 (쇼팽 프렐류드 D♭장조 작품 28-15) - 빗방울
    Tchaikovsky Nocturne in C# minor (차이콥스키 녹턴 C# 단조)

    Why so much Chopin? What does this tell us?
    We acknowledge Chopin as an innovator of the Romantic era, but for some of us the "images" his music creates are hard to ignore.
    Last edited by hammeredklavier; Nov-17-2019 at 02:10.

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    Senior Member Fabulin's Avatar
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    Chopin: the bravura salon swoon inducing composer, for all the right reasons. Great composer.

    Solved.

    Quote Originally Posted by Larkenfield View Post
    And exactly what is wrong with writing something that can delight listeners? Nothing.
    Writing something that can delight listeners is the primary purpose of why music has been developed by humans. I cannot comprehend the brain differences that must be behind someone trying to argue against it. Are they aliens? Are they robots? Are they alligators?
    Last edited by Fabulin; Nov-17-2019 at 08:03.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hammeredklavier View Post
    "Spring Waltz" is a 2006 South Korean television series in the genre of romance and melodrama.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spring_Waltz_OST
    If you look at Spring Waltz OST, disc 1 contains a whole bunch of works by Yiruma and disc 2 contains these works by classical music composers:

    Chopin Nocturne in C # minor (쇼팽 녹턴 C#단조)
    Schumann Humoreske (슈만 유모레스크 도입부)
    Chopin Waltz in B minor (쇼팽 왈츠 B단조)
    Chopin Prelude in E minor, Op.28-4 (쇼팽 프렐류드 E단조 작품 28-4)
    Chopin Etude in E major, op.10-3 (쇼팽 에튀드 E장조 작품 10-3) - 이별의 노래
    Tchaikovsky 'Autumn Song' (차이콥스키 '가을의 노래')
    Chopin Nocturne in E♭major, op.9-2 (쇼팽 녹턴 E♭장조 작품 9-2)
    Chopin Etude in E♭minor, op.10-6 (쇼팽 에튀드 E♭단조 작품 10-6)
    Chopin Prelude in D♭Major, op.28-15 (쇼팽 프렐류드 D♭장조 작품 28-15) - 빗방울
    Tchaikovsky Nocturne in C# minor (차이콥스키 녹턴 C# 단조)
    Why so much Chopin? What does this tell us?
    We acknowledge Chopin as an innovator of the Romantic era, but for some of us the "images" his music creates are hard to ignore.
    "So what does this tell us?" Nothing. Absolutely nothing. And no one who appreciates and understands the first thing about this great composer would ever mistake the saccharine music written for this South Korean show as being even remotely similar in quality to the music of this melodic and harmonic master. That they have a playlist using his music and the music of others is not a negative reflection on him other than the show's producers are undoubtedly looking for music with a sensitive and poetic feel. But it's always back to square one with some of the critics who are unwilling to hear that he was far more than a salon pianist. His music and reputation would not have survived for 170 years if he wasn’t more than that. He's one of the most played composers in the world performed by most of the world's greatest pianists on a list too long to quote.

    Last edited by Larkenfield; Nov-17-2019 at 17:32.
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  14. #55
    Senior Member Fabulin's Avatar
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    The East Asian fascination with Chopin is very cute. If only he could see it!
    Last edited by Fabulin; Nov-17-2019 at 10:28.

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    There are those who don't like chocolate.

    There are those who don't see anything in the eyes of a dog.

    There are those who don't like the scent of a rose.

    There are those who don't enjoy waking up to the first snowfall of the year.

    And there are those who simply don't get Chopin.

    Pity.
    "If I follow the dictates of my government, I will be violating the dictates of my god."
    -Chiune Sugihara

    "Were my Maker to grant me but a single glance through these sightless eyes of mine, I would, without question or recall, choose to see first a child, then a dog."
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    Senior Member EdwardBast's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sid James View Post
    My point is that a large amount of his music was composed for the salon, which was his favourite place to perform. So by definition it’s salon music, albeit of an exceptional kind.

    Maybe I shouldn’t have said anything. Isn’t it obvious that the OP is presenting a dichotomy? You understand it doesn’t really square up with basic logic, right? So much around here doesn’t, so maybe I shouldn’t bother.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sid James View Post
    Honestly, whatever. I don’t care for splitting hairs and the Satie comment was an attempt at irony.

    In future, I’ll think twice before contributing to a debate where the topic itself is a dichotomy. It’s getting to the point that most threads can be described as such. Logic and the internet rarely go together, do they? It was my mistake to think TC is any different.
    I get the point of these posts and support the nuanced position you were arguing. Chopin's music is the perfect case for rejecting the knee-jerk pejorative reading of the term salon music underlying the thread title. Beethoven too performed a lot of salon music, including his sonatas. Musical salons were incubators for much great music and many budding composers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mandryka View Post
    Or Sofronitsky.

    What do the Chopinists think of Arrau’s Chopin waltzes?
    Dunno about other chopinists but I'm a fan of Arrau's Chopin. Of the pianists that have recorded the majority of Chopin's work, Arrau is near or at the top for me--I like his recordings as a whole better than Ohlsson's or Ashkenazy or Lortie or Askenase. I like some of Francois's recordings quite a bit but some of it very little. I'm pretty lukewarm on the recordings in the Rubinstein collection, although I hear some of his earlier recordings are better, and I actively dislike most of Pollini's recordings.

    re: the subject of this thread--as a young man, I used to sneer at Chopin as overly effete and insubstantial and unserious, and considered his popularity with the unwashed masses as a real strike against him. As a middle aged man, I take myself much less seriously and laugh at my prior pomposity, and Chopin is now my second favorite composer after Wagner.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hammeredklavier View Post
    "Spring Waltz" is a 2006 South Korean television series in the genre of romance and melodrama.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spring_Waltz_OST
    If you look at Spring Waltz OST, disc 1 contains a whole bunch of works by Yiruma and disc 2 contains these works by classical music composers:

    Chopin Nocturne in C # minor (쇼팽 녹턴 C#단조)
    Schumann Humoreske (슈만 유모레스크 도입부)
    Chopin Waltz in B minor (쇼팽 왈츠 B단조)
    Chopin Prelude in E minor, Op.28-4 (쇼팽 프렐류드 E단조 작품 28-4)
    Chopin Etude in E major, op.10-3 (쇼팽 에튀드 E장조 작품 10-3) - 이별의 노래
    Tchaikovsky 'Autumn Song' (차이콥스키 '가을의 노래')
    Chopin Nocturne in E♭major, op.9-2 (쇼팽 녹턴 E♭장조 작품 9-2)
    Chopin Etude in E♭minor, op.10-6 (쇼팽 에튀드 E♭단조 작품 10-6)
    Chopin Prelude in D♭Major, op.28-15 (쇼팽 프렐류드 D♭장조 작품 28-15) - 빗방울
    Tchaikovsky Nocturne in C# minor (차이콥스키 녹턴 C# 단조)

    Why so much Chopin? What does this tell us?
    We acknowledge Chopin as an innovator of the Romantic era, but for some of us the "images" his music creates are hard to ignore.
    The bone-headed, tin-eared, stone-hearted, mindless, soulless insensitivity of this comparison may represent a new low in musical commentary. If that's what it should be called.

    Perhaps what Yiruma's inclusion of Chopin and Tchaikovsky tells us is simply that he finds Chopin's and Tchaikovsky's music beautiful and moving and hopes that his listeners will too. Chances are he's right to hope so.
    Last edited by Woodduck; Nov-19-2019 at 01:14.

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    Quote Originally Posted by howlingfantods View Post
    Dunno about other chopinists but I'm a fan of Arrau's Chopin. Of the pianists that have recorded the majority of Chopin's work, Arrau is near or at the top for me--I like his recordings as a whole better than Ohlsson's or Ashkenazy or Lortie or Askenase. I like some of Francois's recordings quite a bit but some of it very little. I'm pretty lukewarm on the recordings in the Rubinstein collection, although I hear some of his earlier recordings are better, and I actively dislike most of Pollini's recordings.
    The thing about Arrau’s waltzes is that they are very slowed down, and that changes the character of the music fundamentally. I mentioned Sofronitsky because he seems to me to find a real emotional depth in the Waltzes he recorded, again revealing.
    Last edited by Mandryka; Nov-19-2019 at 06:45.

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