Chopin's Polish Ballade: Op. 38 as Narrative of National by Jonathan D. Bellman

By Jonathan D. Bellman

Chopin's moment Ballade, Op. 38 is often played, and takes purely seven or so mins to play. but the paintings continues to be very poorly understood--disagreement prevails on matters from its tonic and two-key constitution to its posited courting with the poems of Adam Mickiewicz. Chopin's Polish Ballade is a reexamination and shut research of this recognized paintings, revealing the Ballade as a bit with a robust political tale to inform. throughout the normal musical kinds and particular references within the Ballade, which use either operatic techniques and techniques constructed in programmatic piano items for amateurs, writer Jonathan Bellman strains a transparent narrative thread to modern French operas. His cautious historic exegesis of formerly neglected musical and cultural contexts brings to gentle a bunch of latest insights approximately this extraordinary piece, which, as Bellman indicates, displays the cultural preoccupations of the Polish ?migr?s in mid-1830s Paris, pining with sour nostalgia for a native land now less than Russian domination. This very important connection to the extramusical tradition of its day kinds the root for a believable dating with the nationalistic poetry of Mickiewicz. Chopin's Polish Ballade additionally solves the long-standing conundrum of the 2 extant models of the Ballade, making a huge element concerning the versatile inspiration of "work" that Chopin embraced.

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Extra resources for Chopin's Polish Ballade: Op. 38 as Narrative of National Martyrdom

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27 Beethoven’s Fantasy op. 77 for piano, for example, begins in G minor but ends, after many contrasts of material and tonality and after a series of variations on a theme, in B major; I at least would not make the argument that all the prior material, improvisatory and harmonically unfixed as it is, still somehow inevitably leads to B major. Earlier piano works with a migratory tonal center will not necessarily, it seems, be of much help unless there is a generic relationship. Vocal literature provides some more apposite examples.

By the early 1830s Mickiewicz—still several years shy of forty—already held an honored position among Polish writers and was seen by the sympathetic Europeans as something of a standard-bearer for Polish national aspirations. Mickiewicz and Chopin knew each other from Polish e´migre´ circles in Paris, though their personalities and responses to the Polish crisis were very different: Mickiewicz yearned for an organized Polish response, inspired by the finest Polish artists, while Chopin had a strong personal reaction to his nation’s circumstances but was not inclined to involve himself with broader nationalistic activities.

The Third Ballade, op. 47], the “Undine” of Mickiewicz, published November, 1841, and dedicated to Mlle. P. de Noailles, is too well-known to analyze. It is the schoolgirls’ delight, who familiarly 36. James Huneker, Chopin: The Man and His Music [1900], with new introduction, footnotes, and index by Herbert Weinstock (New York: Dover, 1966), 156. 37 Huneker’s florid prose style and too-ardent love of clever wordplay have left him vulnerable to accusations of dilettantism, but he did have a substantial piano background, even if his ambitions in this area were ultimately to be disappointed.

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