“Music is a moral law. It gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, a charm to sadness, and life to everything. It is the essence of order, and leads to all that is good, just and beautiful, of which it is the invisible, but nevertheless dazzling, passionate, and eternal form.”
Plato

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Chopin Etudes

   
Chopin
A number of readers have asked me, repeatedly, to write about
 the Chopin Etudes—all of them. This, needless to say, would be a huge undertaking. It's a request I've not taken seriously. Call me daring (foolish?) but now I've decided to at least explore the challenge.  
    The catalyst is a student's gleeful reminder of Alfred Cortot's edition, which carries the misunderstandings of the 19th century to the nth degree, that all we have to do is stretch and pull our limbs until they are "strong"(sic). 
   
Alfred Cortot
Cortot was himself a remarkable artist, his artistic feet planted firmly in the 19th century. He was supremely gifted as a youth, if not a child prodigy in the usual exploitative sense, as he was admitted to the Paris Conservatory at the age of nine. His professional debut came in his 19th year. This suggests to me that it is unlikely he practiced the etudes using the guidelines he later 
published, which he did, I'm sure, in good faith. This is just a supposition on my part, not unlike my supposition that Czerny never practiced his exercises. Czerny made his official debut at the prodigious age of nine, although he began private concerts much earlier.
     My purpose here is to inquire of you, gentle reader, whether you have particular technical issues in any of the etudes that I might be able to shed some light on. If so, identify the passage using measure numbers and I'll try to include it. Use the  Contact Me tab above or the comment button below, which, I've just discovered has been out of order..
     

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