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Contest 5CONTEST 5

Chopin's 200th birthday
CURRENTLY ACCEPTING SUBMISSIONS

Thank you for your interest and participation in the Chopin web contests. Please email your answer to fredericchopin at yahoo dot com with "Chopin Contest 5" in the subject of your email. Please save your email in the "Sent" folder of your email software. Unless you received a confirmation within 48 hours, please email your answer again.

A short and direct (but adequate) answer is expected for the brief discussion questions and an elaborate answer in about 120 words for question 5. Please do not skip any part of each question. Each question is worth 20 points. Please look at sample answers from previous contests.

Question 1 : Birth and childhood
When and where was Chopin born and baptized? Give some information about his parents including name, origin, and occupation. Why was Chopin said to be half Polish/French? From whom did Chopin get his tuberculosis? Briefly describe Chopin's childhood (1810-1826).

Question 2 : Skarbek
List all relationships between Chopin's family (including Chopin himself) and the Skarbek's family members (including, but not limited to, teaching, mentorship, dedication of composition, real estate, time spent together, etc.)

Question 3 : First composition and performance

What is the first composition of Chopin? When was it composed? To whom did Chopin dedicate the work? When was it published? Who published it? Quote exactly what was on the front page of the publication. When and where was Chopin's first public concert performance? Who organized/arranged the concert? What did Chopin perform?

Question 4 : Study
List all of Chopin's piano studies, including duration of each study, teachers/professors and their evaluations/comments, major compositions, honors and awards during each study period.

Question 5 : Concerto
Write a comment on one of the two concertos (either Op.11 in E minor or Op.21 in F minor). Your comment must include both analysis and appreciation/feeling.

The prize is one of the following DVDs:
1. "Zimerman plays Chopin & Schubert" with Chopin: Scherzo Op.31, Nocturne Op.15 No.2, Four Ballades Op.23,38,47,52, Fantasy Op.49, Barcarolle Op.60, and Schubert: Four Impromptus Op.90.
2. "Michelangeli plays Chopin" with Chopin: Sonata Op.35, Ballade Op.23, Polonaise Op.22, Fantasy Op.49, Scherzo Op.31, Berceuse Op.57, some waltzes and mazurkas.
3. "Georges Cziffra" with Chopin: Polonaise Op.53, Scherzo Op.31, Impromptu Op.51, Liszt: Etude No.10, Rhapsody No.6, Concert Etude No.2, Valse-impromptu, Grand Galop Chromatique, and Frank: Variations symphoniques.

A special prize will be awarded to one participant having the highest score that is at least 95 points. The prize is a 10-CD boxed set of Chopin Works for piano by Cortot, Rubinstein, Lipatti, Michelangeli, Horowitz, Solomon, Backhaus, Arrau, Gilels, Hess.

By participating in the contest, you agree that your answer will be posted as samples in case you are the winner.

 

PREVIOUS CONTESTS

          Contest 1          Contest 2          Contest 3          Contest 4

 

Contest 4CONTEST 4

Composition and playing styles
CLOSED 10/17/2005 AND 12/29/2007


A short and direct answer in about 75 words is expected for the brief discussion questions and an elaborate answer in about 120 words for question 5. Please look at sample answers from previous contests.

Question 1

question 1 photoWho is this man? (5 pts) 

What is the most memorable about his playing style? (10 pts)

Question 2

Who won the first prize of the 9th International Chopin Competition? (5 pts)

What musical event did he organize in 1999, the 150th anniversary of Chopin's death? (5 pts)

Which recording of his won the "Grand prix du disque de Frederic Chopin", selected in Warsaw every International Chopin Competition? (5 pts)

Question 3


Briefly discuss Chopin's teaching activities, teaching method, and teaching attitude. (15 pts)

Name two of Chopin's pupils (5 pts) 

Question 4


What are the differences between the so-called "early Chopin style" and "late Chopin style" ? (15 pts)

Name two works (with opus number) of the "early Chopin style". (5 pts)

Name two works (with opus number) of the "late Chopin style". (5 pts)

When and where did Chopin give his last concert? (5 pts)

Question 5

Write a comment on one of your most favorite work of Chopin. Your comment must include both analysis and appreciation/feeling. (20 pts)

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Fill in the quotes below (one word per blank, 2 bonus points each)

"Hats off, gentlemen. A __________ ! " - R. Schumann

"I have met a great celebrity, Mme Dudevant, known as George Sand... Her appearance is not to my liking. Indeed there is something about her which positively repels me... What an unattractive person La Sand is... Is she really a __________ ? I'm inclined to doubt it." - F. Chopin

"Chopin has written two wonderful __________ which are worth more than forty novels and are more eloquent than the entire century's literature." - G. Sand

"Music was his language, the divine tongue through which he expressed a whole realm of sentiments that only the select few can appreciate... The muse of his homeland dictates his songs, and the anguished cries of Poland lend to his art a mysterious, indefinable poetry which, for all those who have truly experienced it, cannot be compared to anything else... The __________ alone was not sufficient to reveal all that lies within him. In short he is a most remarkable individual who commands our highest degree of devotion." - F. Liszt

"Play __________ in memory of me." - F. Chopin
 

 RESULT

Congratulations to Thomas C. Smith (90 pts + 8 bonus pts) -- for the period before first closing on 10/17/2005

Congratulations to Benjamin Stamile (88 pts + 10 bonus pts) -- for the second period before closing on 12/31/2007

The prize is a DVD from the followings:

  • "Zimerman plays Chopin & Schubert" with Chopin: Scherzo Op.31, Nocturne Op.15 No.2, Four Ballades Op.23,38,47,52, Fantasy Op.49, Barcarolle Op.60, and Schubert: Four Impromptus Op.90.

  • "Michelangeli plays Chopin" with Chopin: Sonata Op.35, Ballade Op.23, Polonaise Op.22, Fantasy Op.49, Scherzo Op.31, Berceuse Op.57, some waltzes and mazurkas.

  • "Georges Cziffra" with Chopin: Polonaise Op.53, Scherzo Op.31, Impromptu Op.51, Liszt: Etude No.10, Rhapsody No.6, Concert Etude No.2, Valse-impromptu, Grand Galop Chromatique, and Frank: Variations symphoniques.

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 ANSWER  (by Benjamin Stamile)

Question 1

Pianist: Vladimir Horowitz.
The most memorable about his playing style: His hand-position was very unusual, playing with flat fingers. He was able to effectuate a very powerful sound when he desired to without actually banging the keyboard.


Question 2


Pianist: Krystian Zimerman.
Event: Polish Festival Orchestra and World Tour of Chopin Concertos.
Recording: Deutsche Grammophon - Chopin Concertos 1 & 2 - Polish Festival Orchestra, Krystian Zimerman (conductor/piano) 459864-2

Question 3


For six months of the year, from October or November to May, Chopin received an average of five pupils a day. His lessons were quite expensive and more greatly desired than Liszt's. He gave every detail his whole attention when teaching. Chopin preferred pupils to follow the text carefully rather than always play from memory. All in all, very very strict as a teacher. Chopin did not accept beginners or children - with the exception of certain prodigies; He was not easily approachable. Generally, lessons were private. Lessons did not likely extend beyond one hour. He had approximately 150 pupils.

Two of Chopin's pupils: Georges Mathias and Friederike MŁller-Streicher

Question 4


The early compositions revealed Chopin's subtle lyricism and his unique cantabile melody. We can distinguish the so-called "late Chopin style" in the last years of the composer's life, after 1840. At this time, he abandoned strong effects and violent, direct emotional statement in favor of greater concentration, the moderation of outer gesture, and the inclusion of profound expression, endowed with reflective and intellectual traits. Simultaneously, his tonal language became even more elaborate and distant from traditional patterns.

Early Chopin style: Polonaise C major Op. 3 for piano and cello, and Rondo C minor, Op. 1 for piano
Late Chopin style: Polonaise-Fantaisie op. 61, Nocturnes op. 55 and 62

In 1848 Chopin gave his last concert in Paris.

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Question 5

Scherzo No. 2 in B flat minor, Op. 31

Playful indeed (as the name suggests) by the very opening prance of the first notes. But to me, it is more of a question asked by someone foolish, naive, and obviously misunderstanding. The quiet naÔvetť of the inquirer is pushed aside by the interlocutor's explosive answer (in all its arrant sensibility). I get the impression of someone being pestered for years about his/her life choices, personal opinions, philosophical convictions (if any). Constantly, they choose to answer politely, but the same people who ask so often do so because they simply do not understand due to apparent thick-headed (or narrow-minded) views. At the moment of the speaker's breaking point, he bursts with a very loud response to something so obvious in his own mind. But after words the discussion continues between the two people. The naive fool feels badly about his having upset the protagonist, and so they have a very lengthy discussion about that which has needed clearing up after so many years.

It is a very life-giving piece, and in my lack of articulation with the afore-mentioned explanation, I leave it to Chopin who so eloquently plays the scenario in the very notes that so beautifully compose the across-the-board human condition of youthful angst and its wish to be heard -- once and for all.

Bonus question


genius
woman
mazurkas
piano
Mozart

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Contest 3CONTEST 3

Contest of quizzes
CLOSED 10/17/2002


Question 1

Write a short essay about your feeling and comment on one of your most favorite work of Chopin (in 100-150 words) (max: 5 pts)

Question 2
Do all the quizzes from quiz No.1 to Quiz No.6 (total of 102 questions) (max: 5 pts)
(0-30 : 0 pt, 31-45 : 1 pt, 46-60 : 2 pts, 61-75 : 3 pts, 76-90 : 4 pts, 91-102 : 5 pts)

 RESULT

No prize awarded.

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Contest 2CONTEST 2

Chopin and Schumann
CLOSED 10/17/2001


Question 1

Who introduced F.Chopin to the Schumann's? When and where did that meeting take place? (3 pts)

Question 2
Name the work that R.Schumann dedicated to F.Chopin and the work that F.Chopin dedicated to R.Schumann? (2 pts)

Question 3
How did F.Chopin feel about R.Schumann's music and vice versa? (2 pts)

Question 4
What are the differences between the music of F.Chopin and that of R.Schumann? (3 pts)

 RESULT

Jared C Hartt won the first prize (9/10) Congratulation !
The prize will be one of the following DVDs: "Horowitz in Moscow" / "Horowitz - The last romantic"

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Contest 1CONTEST 1

Chopin 101
CLOSED 10/17/2000


LIFE
 
How did the famous writer George Sand affect Chopin's life and works ? (20pts)

MUSIC

In what aspects did Chopin revolutionize the piano ? (20pts)

GENRES
Which genres do not belong to Chopin ? Nocturne, Prelude, Fugue, Ballade, Scherzo, Caprice, Waltz, Etude, Mazurka, Polonaise, Intermezzo, Impromptu, Moment musical, Fantasy, Rondo, Barcarolle, Berceuse, Bolero, Tarantella, Lyric Piece, Bouree, Ecossaise, Trio, Largo, Suite, Variations, Galop Marquis, Songs, Sonata for piano, Sonata for cello & piano, Sonata for violin & piano, Concerto for piano & orchestra (10pts, minus 2 per mistake)

MUSICAL TERM

What do you call the way of playing nearly without any reference to the beat, used very often by Chopin ? (4pts)

GREAT CHOPIN INTERPRETERS
The great pianist who was born in Switzerland, in the late 19th century, spending most of his life in France and writing 2 books about the famous etudes of Chopin Op.10 & Op.25 explaining clearly how to practice these challenging pieces most efficiently ? (3pts)
The great pianist who won the first prize of the International Chopin Competition at the age of 18 and has remained one of the greatest and most intimidating exponents of Chopinís music after the Second World War ? (3pts)

TUNE
Click the "link" to hear the tune. What do you know about this work (midi) or (mp3) (not just the name, opus number, ...) ? Give your impressions and feelings about it. (20pts)

IMAGES
What is the name of this place ? Give at least one work that Chopin composed there. (5 pts)
Can you recognize this piece ? What is it often called ? (5 pts)
Who is this man ? What is his relationship with Chopin ? Give one of his famous comments about Chopin (life or music). (10 pts)

 RESULT

"Great prize": 14 CDs (91-100pts) not awarded
Ludwig van Beethoven / The complete 32 piano sonatas & 5 piano concertos / Claudio Arrau, piano

"Credit prizes":
2 miscellaneous CDs for each prize (81-90pts)
won by Tony Nickle (84pts) Jul 30, 2000
won by Jordan Pollard (81pts) Sep 8, 2000
won by Paul Kennedy (88pts) Oct 13, 2000
won by Andy Smith (80pts) Oct 15, 2000
Congratulations !

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 ANSWER

LIFE 
How did the famous writer George Sand affect Chopin's life and works ? (20pts)

George Sand affected Chopin in two primary ways. On the one hand, she was probably a large factor in the vigor for composing that Chopin possessed after they met in 1837. Although Chopin always possessed a great deal of enthusiasm for composition, he was already beginning to show signs of his ultimately fatal tuberculosis by the time they met, and his health was sporadic at times. However, George Sand provided Chopin with emotional security (most of the time anyway) and maternal care, both of which probably had a vast impact on the maintenance of Chopin's physical and mental well-being. This surely gave Chopin many more years of quality composing. Sand's artistic and dramatic nature with regard to her novel's may have also been an inspiration to Chopin and his compositions.
On the other hand, the bitter breakup between Sand and Chopin must have played a major role in the deterioration of Chopin's health in the last couple years of his life. Therefore, the couple's breakup may have actually reduced Chopin's life and, therefore, the number of compositions with which we are left today. (Tony Nickle)

George Sand and Chopin had a very important relationship in Chopin's life. She took care of him when he was just starting to get ill, she gave him love and inspiration, and the years they spent together were probably the best in Chopin's life, they were his happiest years, and his most productive years. They shared a deep love and a deep friendship that most people never get, and it's interesting that when they parted it was not one or the others fault, but it was George Sand's son who WAS the actual conflict between them, but that's beside the point. George Sand gave Chopin comfort and took away his feeling of loneliness. That relationship was very important to Chopin as it gave him much inspiration and ideas for his work. (Jordan Pollard)

Rather than rehash the details of the relationship, I shall briefly point out the significance of Sand on Chopinís life & works. It is chiefly this: simply that the years they were together provided Chopin with a kind of stability that he never knew before or after, and this in turn allowed his work to flourish. Sand was six years older than Chopin and had an almost maternal attitude toward himóprobably a good thing where his poor health was concerned. He spent the winter of 1838-39 in Majorca with her, and the better part of the next seven years (until November 1846) at her home in Nohant, and it is from this period that the large majority of his most significant works were written: 3 of the Ballades, 5 Polonaises, 2 Scherzi, and the two great Sonatas, to name just a few. It is further significant that for the last three years of his life, after he left Nohant for the last time, he composed next to nothing of significance. (Paul Kennedy)

In the late 1830's, Chopin came upon a rather strange woman by the name of Aurore Dudevant, also known as George Sand. At first, Chopin was turned off by this masculine-acting woman who smoked cigars in public. "Is she really a woman? I'm inclined to doubt it." However, for some reason, Chopin entered into a multi-year relationship with her. Sand was able to nurse Chopin back to health during his many illnesses, particularly during their vacation in the winter of 1838, when he composed his 24 Preludes. She was very supportive of him, particularly when he composed a set of Mazurkas--"Chopin has written a [few] mazurkas which are more valuable than [twenty] novels." However, in 1847, a disagreement between the two brought a cessation to their relationship. Sand's impact on Chopin's life was so great that, when the relationship was over, so, in part, was Chopin's life. (Andy Smith)

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MUSIC
In what aspects did Chopin revolutionize the piano ? (20pts)

Chopin was the first of the new pianists of the 19th Century. His style of playing, as well as his innovations in fingering and pedaling were the model for pianists and were not significantly altered until Debussy. Chopin took liberties in fingering that were unheard of in his day, such as sliding the thumb under the fifth finger, sliding from black key to white key, or even white key to white key. He also emphasized that the upper arm, forearm, wrist, hand, and fingers should all be used in playing, rather than from the wrist only, which was a popular technical concept up until Chopin.
In his day his music was considered irregular, at times being noted as too dissonant. Indeed, Chopin was a great innovator of harmony. He broke ground with his treatment of chromaticism in many, if not most of his pieces. Often times Chopin would use a harmonic progression that was completely subservient to the chromatic sequencing. At times, certain chords could not be given any practical name, but could merely be analyzed as functioning within a chromatic sequence. The harmony was the foundation of Chopin's pieces, with the melody often taking second place. This is not to say that Chopin lacks lyricism, he simply emphasized movement through his harmonics.
Additionally, Chopin's novel rubato revolutionized the concept of the beat, especially to those in Chopin's day who were not accustomed to such rhythmic displacements. However, Chopin's rubato was never uncontrolled. His approach was that individual note values would always be preserved that the rhythm fluctuates while the underlying metrical pulse remains constant. That which is borrowed is always repaid. (Tony Nickle)

Chopin was a very influential pianist for people, but he was not influenced by people. He found his influence in his life and the things surrounding him. You can hear many different things in just one piece, his compositions were very visual pieces. You could hear how he hoped to fall in love as a younger man, then later in life the way he reacted to the struggle in Poland in evident in some of his Nocturnes. And of course in the Mazurkas you can hear his love for his home land and his obvious Polish spirit. This is what helped his music become so expressive and loved by everyone. He brought the romantic piano to the unprecedented height of expressiveness and shows little influence from other romantic pianists (although he was influenced by Bach, but Bach was a baroque composer). He created a style and sound that is all his own, many have tried to create such passion but when you hear Chopin, it is obviously Chopin and no one else. (Jordan Pollard)

Purely in terms of performance technique, he was the first composer to fully develop the uses of the pedal, singly and in combination, and to use them for the effects of overtones. He developed new fingering techniques: his pupil Mikuli says he unhesitatingly employed the thumb on black keys and that he crossed the longer fingers smoothly over each other without the thumb, as in the chromatic scales of the Etude op. 10 #2. He developed a highly lyrical cantabile style, influenced by Bellini and Italian bel canto singing. And, chiefly through his mazurkas, he changed forever the meaning of the concept of rubato.
His contributions were no less great in his compositions. He greatly expanded old dance forms, the waltz, polonaise and mazurka, giving them greater artistic weight. He similarly infused the Etude with new artistic significance. His four Scherzi are a great broadening of both the formal structure and of the emotions expressed in this genre. And the Ballade as a solo piano piece he seems to have invented entirely. Finally, his expansion of the tonal and harmonic vocabulary directly influenced Wagner and, by extension, the whole 20th century atonal movement. (Paul Kennedy)

It can be argued that no composer has concentrated on one instrument like Chopin. Chopin almost exclusively composed his works for piano, and in his few works that he didn't write primarily for the piano, the piano has a way of dominating the song throughout the piece. Even though piano composition had been taking place over the past century by greats such as Bach and Beethoven, Chopin can claim a virtual monopoly on the instrument. He was able to bring out melodies, ideas, and his emotions in his compositions, probably unlike any composer before or since. While his compositions are rather small, Chopin was able to portray certain emotions to his audiences which could not be matched by any other composer, before or since. "The things I tell my piano are the things I used to tell you." (Andy Smith)

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GENRES
Which genres do not belong to Chopin ? Nocturne, Prelude, Fugue, Ballade, Scherzo, Caprice, Waltz, Etude, Mazurka, Polonaise, Intermezzo, Impromptu, Moment musical, Fantasy, Rondo, Barcarolle, Berceuse, Bolero, Tarantella, Lyric Piece, Bouree, Ecossaise, Trio, Largo, Suite, Variations, Galop Marquis, Songs, Sonata for piano, Sonata for cello & piano, Sonata for violin & piano, Concerto for piano & orchestra (10pts, minus 2 per mistake)

Caprice, Intermezzo, Moment Musical, Lyric Piece, Suite, Sonata for violin & piano

MUSICAL TERM
What do you call the way of playing nearly without any reference to the beat, used very often by Chopin ? (4pts)

Rubato

GREAT CHOPIN INTERPRETERS

The great pianist who was born in Switzerland, in the late 19th century, spending most of his life in France and writing 2 books about the famous etudes of Chopin Op.10 & Op.25 explaining clearly how to practice these challenging pieces most efficiently ? (3pts)

Alfred Dennis Cortot

The great pianist who won the first prize of the International Chopin Competition at the age of 18 and has remained one of the greatest and most intimidating exponents of Chopinís music after the Second World War ? (3pts)

Maurizio Pollini

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TUNE
Click the "link" to hear the tune. What do you know about this work (midi) or (mp3) (not just the name, opus number, ...) ? Give your impressions and feelings about it. (20pts)

> Barcarolle Op.60 in F sharp major composed in 1845-46

The piece is masterful, offering an exploration of numerous affects and emotions. The beginning introduction creates a sense of uncertainty with regard to direction so that the listener is left questioning what comes next. Then, out of nowhere, a peaceful, serene accompaniment begins and offers a feeling of comfort. Shortly thereafter a simple yet wonderful Italian melody presents itself, reiterating the sense of peacefulness. The A section offers some dramatics, but maintains the aforementioned serenity as a whole.
The B section, while still maintaining a smooth accompaniment, offers much greater dramatics than does the A section. Emotions move from initial tranquility, to unrest, sorrow, longing, and back to sweetness just as the transition out of the B section begins.
The transition seems to have a wandering character about it, eventually bringing back the familiar left-hand accompaniment and melodic material from the A section. However, the melodic material is varied from its first appearance in the A section, and the return of this material is cut short, therefore this third section is more of an A-prime. The A-prime section is considerably shorter than the A section because an extended Coda is to follow. This format, that is, A B A-prime Coda, is very common in Chopin's pieces. In the Coda the piece culminates into a dramatic climax, and feelings of intense desire are created through the use of ascending sequences and descending chromatics. The Coda eventually turns to a quiescent ending that almost has a bittersweet feeling after the intense material preceding it. A final scale followed by two V-I chord progressions complete the piece with authority. (Tony Nickle)

Historically this piece was composed in what some like to call the late Chopin style. it was composed in 1845-autumn to 1846-summer) In this style you can hear that he was looking for profound expression with reflective and intellectual traits, and there are many reasons for this. At this point in his life he was very ill and I think was contemplating his soon coming death and that he was reminiscing over his entire past. You can tell the tonal language has become more elaborate by his using thirds in the melody more than one note melody lines. Musically however, this piece can take a person to many different places. The short intro gives you an insight of what to expect in the piece and the piece itself doesn't fail to deliver. The melody itself is enough to lose your self in as it swims back and forth from major to minor and back again. At about 2:30 into the piece there is a solo done by the left hand that signifies that a new idea is coming. And the middle section is different from the first. In some small portions the melody goes back and forth from right hand to left hand. Then at 5:20 into the piece it seems to be a recapitulation, but there is only one note in the melody instead of the melody in thirds, interesting. Then suddenly at 5:40 a trill starts a transition point which eventually ends in the actual recapitulation. Then 6:30 into the piece it seems to be the melody with new energy, like a renewed love for the piece, and the passion increases. Then finally you could find yourself swimming again and getting lost in the arpeggio-like runs up and down the keyboard, until you hit the bottom and this lovely piece ends with excitement in the last remaining chords. An interesting piece indeed! (Jordan Pollard)

The piece was performed by Chopin at his last public concert in Paris in February, 1848, where, says Sir Charles Halle, the master played the two forte passages "pianissimo and with all sorts of dynamic finesse," as was typical of his performing style. The piece has the melodic and rhythmic aspects of Mendelssohnís "Venetian Boat Songs," though of course on a larger scale. The Barcarolle is evidence of Chopinís great contributions in the field of harmony, for example the middle section in A major, which modulates quickly through G# major, F# major and F# minor the transition to the first theme with its strange, chromatic blocked chords (mm. 76-78) and the beautiful cadenza on the last page on a G+6 chord. All these fill this gorgeous love song with the vapors of the mysteries of the universe. (Paul Kennedy)

Chopin wrote this barcarolle, which was his only attempt in this genre. Chopin has a great admiration for Italian music. The barcarolle had its origins in Venice, when boatmen would sing songs know as "barcarolles". I feel that Chopin enjoyed writing this piece for two reasons. First, he put his personal touch on it as only he could. While he retained many basic functions of a typical barcarolle in it, he added his own "Polish" style and musicales to it. Also, the piece is not overbearing it resembles his nocturnes, in a way. Chopin, being of poor health throughout his life, was frail this type of genre was best suited for him. I can just see him smiling as he finishes this piece!! (I am near the end, about 6:30 through it! (Andy Smith)

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IMAGES

Image 1What is the name of this place ? Give at least one work that Chopin composed there. (5 pts)

In July 1837, Chopin traveled to London in the company of Camille Pleyel in the hope of forgetting all unpleasant memories. Soon afterwards, he entered into a close liaison with the famous French writer George Sand. This author of daring novels, older by six years, and a divorcee with two children, offered the lonely artist what he missed most from the time when he left Warsaw: extraordinary tenderness, warmth and maternal care. The lovers spent the winter of 1838/1839 on the Spanish island of Majorca, living in a former monastery in Valdemosa. There, due to unfavorable weather conditions, Chopin became gravely ill and showed symptoms of tuberculosis. For many weeks, he remained so weak as to be unable to leave the house but nonetheless, continued to work intensively and composed a number of masterpieces: the series of 24 Preludes op.28, Nocturnes op.37, Ballade in F major op.38, Scherzo in C sharp minor op.39, Polonaise in C minor op.40-2, etc.


Can you recognize this piece ? What is it often called ? (5 pts)

Image 2

Prelude Op.28 No.15 in D flat major "Raindrop"


Image 3Who is this man ? What is his relationship with Chopin ? Give one of his famous comments about Chopin (life or music). (10 pts)
 
Robert Schumann was a contemporary of Chopin. Most likely they were friends to a certain degree, although Chopin admittedly never cared for his music. Schumann was a major supporter of Chopin's music. He was one of the few people in Chopin's day who truly understood him and his music from the beginning. Schumann, who was always attuned to new things, understood the underlying principles in Chopin's music (harmony, pedaling, melodic treatment, etc.). It was Schumann who introduced Chopin to Germany with his review of the Variations on La ci darem la mano (Op. 2), in which he stated, "Hats off, gentlemen! A genius!" (Tony Nickle)

This is Robert Schumann (1810-1856). He was also a romantic pianist and composer. He helped the young Chopin earn his reputation as the virtuosic, passionate, and extreme talent that we know him as. He looked up to Chopin and admired his expressiveness. He knew the power that Chopin had in his music. Among the things he said of Chopin, my favorite is, "Hats off gentlemen, a genius!" But for a more specific quote, after hearing Chopin's 24 Preludes Op.28, the review he gave Chopin was simply, "The boldest, proudest poetic spirit of our era." (Jordan Pollard)

The composer Robert Schumann was also one of the leading musical critics of his day, primarily as editor of the Neue Zeitschrift. In this position he was able, through mostly glowing reviews of Chopinís works and performances, to further young Chopinís career, such as in Schumannís famous declaration upon hearing Chopinís Variations op. 2: "Hats off, gentlemen! A genius!" Schumann also said that Chopinís was the proudest and most poetic spirit of his time. It should be noted that, ironically, Chopin for his part was largely dismissive of Schumannís music stating, for example, that the "Carnaval" was not really music at all. (Paul Kennedy)

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