Tuesday, 14 April 2009

260. Frédéric Chopin - Waltzes (1829-47)


Title: 14 Waltzes, Impromptus, Bolero
Performer: Arthur Rubinstein
Year: 1960s
Length: 50 minutes


I have said before that Classical music often suffers from over-exposure and Chopin's waltzes are a perfect example of that. Despite them all being consummate works of art, we have heard them all so many times that the ear is completely jaded to their more subtle characteristics.

Waltzes, seen now as style of music for entertainment and dancing are particularly affected by this over popularisation. While this might be fair in the works of Strauss for example, Chopin's Waltzes are very clearly not made for dancing. Listen to any of them and imagine the scene. The Waltzes are, like everything Chopin did, too emotionally complex to serve as utilitarian music for dancing.

When a composer pushes a popular genre beyond its traditional boundaries the utilitarian aspect of it is often lost, look at Piazzolla's Tangos for example, undanceable as well. All the pieces here are too popular for their own good, but they are also fantastic.

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

Classical composers traditionally supplied music for dancing when required, and Schubert's waltzes were written for household dancing, without any pretense at being art music. However, Chopin's 19 waltzes (five he wrote as a child), along with his mazurkas and polonaises, were clearly not intended to be danced to. They marked the adoption of the waltz and other dance forms as serious composition genres.
Rubinstein Plays Op.64 No.2:

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