Sunday, August 4, 2013

Imagining What Chopin May Have Heard

As I prepare to perform a rather obscure Chopin Polonaise in E-flat minor (Op. 26, No. 2) I cannot help but notice that I was drawn to this by the Polonaises of W.F. Bach, which have been on my recital series this summer. 

There are essentially two types of Chopin Polonaises: the familiar and the unfamiliar.  The familiar make sense in the light of later 19th-century works by other composers.  The less familiar make sense in the light of works Chopin may have heard as a young man--the W.F. Bach, for example--works that almost no one plays these days because they are so bizarre.

Bizarre means that they don't fit the models of post-Classical structure we are taught in music schools.