chopin of dissonance: nocturnes on renunciations of reality

For sixteen prolific years in France prior to splitting with George Sand, Chopin had produced an uninterrupted stream of masterpieces on such a consistently brilliant level of craftsmanship and invention that it is well-nigh impossible to talk of a bell curve study of his work.  They are masterpieces with conspicuously modest titles that are as quietly understated as their message: etudes, preludes, scherzos, ballades, etc.

"Frederick Chopin did not die of tuberculosis. Doubts about this have emerged after the composer autopsy. Ultimately genetic tests of artist’s heart can confirm this. Notes from an Frederic Chopin autopsy show that small tumors were located on the surface of his heart. It does not, however, confirm that this was because of tuberculosis. Most recent analysis of professor Wojciech Cichy from Medical Uniwerystetu in Poznan suggest that the symptoms could indicate mucoviscidosis." Read More:

There were not then established categories of music; it was Chopin who invested them with the meaning they now possess. The impromptus preserve some of the freedom and spontaneity of his legendary improvisations. The nocturnes are his serenades, his “night music” . The preludes are descended from the purposeful prefaces that introduce Bach’s fugues, but Chopin uses the term to designate poems and mood pieces of the most diverse kinds. Andre Gide called them “preludes to mediation” . Read More: …the waltzes are society music, freely adapted from the newly fashionable ballroom whirl. The scherzos related to Beethoven’s sonata scherzos and display the energy that Chopin could bring to bear at critical moments. The etudes, supposedly designed as exercises for the hand, actually celebrate the triumph of music over technology.

---‘Toward the end of our life living together, I just remember everything became so monotonous," says Jane Birkin. "Because we didn't go to the four or five nightclubs anymore—it was just Élysée Matignon and it was the Élysée Matignon until four in the morning because everyone gave Serge something to drink and it was just systematic and boring. And when I think about it now it's terrible to say, because the piano used to come out of the floor and people would be hanging around like they do in nightclubs—two, three in the morning—and they'd ask him for a little melody.… So now I feel like I was living with Frédéric Chopin going, 'Hey, Frédéric, you've got to go home.' I used to wrench him from the piano and tell people to stop giving him drinks, because they'd give him drinks and he'd give them drinks and it was never-ending until four o'clock in the morning." Read More

“About Chopin the composer, as seen in his works, a whole book might be written, and indeed more than one book has been written. His compositions are absolutely unique of their kind, for Chopin is the poet of the piano par excellence, and has had neither imitators nor rivals. His finest works are to be found in the smallest forms, such as the Nocturne, the Mazurka, the Ballade, and the Study. They are all so thoroughly tinged with the native sentiment that they seem to be suggested by thoughts of that country of his which has presented so many different phases of character, like every other country struggling for its freedom. His originality is very remarkable; he not only invented new chords and modes of treatment, but also new forms. He was fond of blending the major and minor keys — that is, he applied unreservedly to pieces written in major keys chords belonging of right to the minor keys, and vice versa; and the amalgamation offered to him many new and surprising harmonic effects. The Impromptu, the Ballade, and the Valse de Salon are all his creations. In his eighteen Nocturnes he gives us music of great charm, and of a nobility of feeling rarely met with. His twenty-four grand Studies are standard works, of great beauty and lasting value, and have not been surpassed.” Read More:

After playing Chopin, I feel as if I had been weeping over sins that I had never committed, and mourning over tragedies that were not my own. -- Oscar Wilde, 1891 image:

Few writers on Chopin can resist the urge to wax poetic over his music, a tradition since the effusive Liszt; though no composer illustrates more graphically the truth of Heine’s dictum that music begins where words fail. In his day, Chopin usually met with nothing less than complete and spontaneous approval. Posterity, seems to have little reason to overturn the rapturous judgements of a Schumann or Mendelssohn. On the contrary, as the art of dissonance has progressed, it has also become clear that Chopin, not Wagner, was the real father of modern chromatic harmony.

As Thomas Mann points out in “Doctor Faustus”, there are things in Chopin that anticipate and even surpass Wagner’s most revolutionary episodes: Playing Chopin’s “Nocturnes” followed by excerpts from Wagner’s “Tristan and Isolde” that center on passionate love, lifts her love above bourgeois normalcy into the realm of life-transcending art. But it also leads to a violent eruption of her disease and a swift death, leaving a husband and infant behind. Mann sends an ambivalent message. Art liberates and elevates, but it leads to a destructive renunciation of reality and belongs to the realm of death. ( Understanding Thomas Mann, Hannelore Mundt)

"Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski has ordered the withdrawal of a risqué comic on Polish culture created by Poland’s Embassy in Berlin, which was meant to be “accessible” to modern-day kids but turned out to be simply vulgar and “inappropriate”. Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski is quoted by the PAP news agency, as saying the comic, entitled New Romantic, was “certainly a mistake.” The comic, designed to promote Polish culture amongst German schoolchildren, includes a tale in which a modern-day Chopin goes to give a concert in a prison with his skinhead chum. The text is peppered with 'vulgar' expressions and swearing. " read more:

Legions of pianists have nearly succeeded in pounding this most private of composers into a mass of public bits. Every aspiring virtuoso must regard themselves as a Chopin interpreter and annual competitions are held to find the fairest of them all. Even every now and then one of his pieces is squeezed, dismembered and manipulated into a pop song that still manages to seduce the public ear. He is no respecter of classes, obviously, this composer who wrote for the snobbiest audience of Europe, for almost every level of taste in the hierarchy  can have its favorite Chopin: there is something powerful and resiliant about a music that can survive its own popularity this way.

“Those who have read thus far will already know Chopin the man. He was, let it be repeated, exactly like his compositions. Pauer says truly that he never in his life wrote a bar of music that contained a vulgar idea. And there was nothing vulgar about himself. That same sense of refinement and delicacy that we experience in listening to a sympathetic rendering of his best works is just what every one who met him seems to have found to be his characteristics as a man. He liked having fine, neat clothes; he liked flowers always in his rooms; he disliked smoking. These are details upon which we may found. Nobody knew h

etter than George Sand, and her description is therefore worth quoting.” She says:

Gentle, sensitive, and very lovely, he united the charm of adolescence with the suavity of a more mature age; through the want of muscular development he retained a peculiar beauty, and exceptional physiognomy, which, if we may venture so to speak, belonged to neither age nor sex. It was like the ideal creations with which the poetry of the Middle Ages adorned the Christian temples. The delicacy of his constitution rendered him interesting in the eyes of women. The full yet grateful cultivation of his mind, the sweet and captivating originality of his conversation, gained for him the attention of the most enlightened men, whilst those less highly cultivated liked him for the exquisite courtesy of his manners.Read More:

At the opening of the Finale of Frederic Chopin’s Sonata No. 2 in b-flat minor, dissonance and chromaticism is so pervasive that the tonality is not discernible. Only at the end of this excerpt is there a “glimmer “of diatonicism. Read More:

---One speech bubble in the book says, ‘What the f*** is he standing there for?’ while another states, ‘It’s that c*** who was sitting here.’ One scene shows the composer snorting lines of white powder. The use of terms such as 'fag-holocaust' ('cweloholokaust') has raised questions about why the Polish government financed the book in the first place. Read more:

Chopin’s music to the main theme of harmony based, while through the techniques of polyphony. His thorough harmony with classical music, and according to sex. He often uses medieval modes, alternate tuning and bold harmonies suddenly transferred to transform He likes to use three and set the tonal contrast, and chromatic harmony and dissonance with the extensions to an unprecedented area. He is also within the scope of traditional harmony to explore the use of the characteristics of folk music styles. the logic of his harmonic voice is carried out based on the fluency, flexibility and freedom of their voices were, a wide range of bass, strong, slender simple. His music is mostly texture and sound-based melody plus accompaniment, and its Silent rich and varied accompaniment. Read More:

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