Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A Whole Post for Chopin

Chopin is one of those composer names that many people know even if they don't really know music.  Part of that, I think, is because it is a name that isn't pronounced the way it is spelled and that tends to come up in conversation lots.  Chopin is also a composer that has many works familiar to even the most naive classical listeners because they watch cartoons.  

Chopin is a tricky fellow.  He's kindof like Beethoven in that when you hear the music, it doesn't always sound like it's very complicated and I suppose that is part of the brilliance in his compositions is that when it is learned well and performed well, it sounds easy.  I promise it isn't.

I suppose my loyalty to Chopin partly involves from being a pianist, because most of his works are for piano.  But he is able to express power and beauty, simplicity and passion with little white and black keys that you just have to push to make sound.  He was truly astonishing.  He is also the best thing to happen to the key of C sharp minor EVER.

So here are my favorites, grouped by kind of work - this is maybe a quarter of what he wrote.  
Piano Concerto
1 and 2 (Two is my favorite between these two and I'm partial to the live recording of these by a 9 or 10 year old Evgeny Kissen - talk about double brilliance) 
A major (Op 40 No 1) 
C-sharp minor (Op 26 No 1)
A flat major (Op 53) when my mom performed this in a pageant, the poor emcee didn't really know music and instead of pronouncing it like the name of the letter, he pronounced it like the article a.  Made it sound like the piano  had been tuned down to that key.  Ha ha ha!  Hmm.  That might not be funny to everyone else. 
D-flat major (Minute Waltz) Bugs Bunny could perform it in 30 seconds.
E-flat major (Grand Valse Brilliante)
C sharp minor (Op 64 No 2)
E-flat major (Op 9 No 2) This is the song that Sharon, pretending to be Susan, plays when she is fighting with her dad in the original Parent Trap when he asks when she learned how to play the piano
B-flat minor (Op 32 No 1)
C sharp minor (Op 72 No 2 Posthumous) If you have seen the movie The Pianist, this is the nocturne that is played throughout
D flat major, (Op 27 No 2) 
D flat major (Op 28 No 15)
A major (No 7)
for Two Pianos My mom and I are currently working on performing this one - hopefully in March?
Fantasy Impromptu C-sharp major 
C minor (Revolutionary)
 E Major (Op. 10 No. 3)
Ballade in A flat Major
B-flat minor (Op 31)
B minor (Op 20)
C-sharp minor (Op 39)
Sonata in B-flat minor (Op 35) The third movement of this work has what is often called the Funeral March - I know you have heard at least part of this if you have ever watch a Tom and Jerry or Looney Tunes commercial where someone has (for the very brief moment) died.  Maybe in Alfred Hitchcock somewhere too.
I hope you and Chopin can become friends.  It's been a great relationship so far.

1 comment:

Roni said...

I've always liked Showpan...