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Re: GG: and the Romantics

I think Chopin was demonstrating his fondness for the
WTC in some of his concert etudes.  Several of them
contain sixteenth notes from beginning to end,
creating a kind of contrapuntal texture, similar to
that of the counterpoint Bach employed in several
fugues of the WTC.  (Bach loved his sixteenth
notes!!!)  Opus 10, number 4 "Bumble Bee" I think, is
an example, where the sixteenth notes create a kind of
chromatic counterpoint evoking the image of a bee in
flight, like Rimsky Korsakov's "Flight of the Bumble
Bee" and lend a unique polyphonic quality to the


--- "Baldwin, Daniel" <baldwin@baermarks.com> wrote:
> 	Lately, I have been listening intensively to
> Cortot's recordings of
> Chopin, and this has provoked me to think about GG's
> antitpathy to the great
> 19th century works for the piano by Chopin, Schumann
> and Lizst, among
> others. His professed reason for finding this music
> so distasteful is that
> it lacks  contrapuntal content. This is true, but
> only in a limited respect.
> Thus, taking as an example Chopin's Etudes, these
> are homophonic
> compositions in the sense that there is a single
> prominent melodic thread
> which generally remains in one voice. However, as
> Charles Rosen has noted,
> there is definitely a contrapuntal texture, which he
> has described as
> "coloristic counterpoint," as distinct from the
> Bachian counterpoint, which
> is exclusively structural. In the Etudes, dynamic
> and rhythmic contrasts and
> other characteristics derived directly from
> exploitation of the unique sound
> world of the piano contribute significantly to the
> texture, and support a
> musical structure which in its own way is as rich as
> that of the Bach fugues
> in the WTC, but which is more sensuously oriented..
> We know that GG spoke about Bach's indifference to
> instrumental coloration;
> it was a mark of Bach's appeal to GG that Bach's
> music could be enjoyed as
> much (if not more than) on the printed page as
> aurally.This appeal to GG is,
> in turn, probably attributable to his deep
> sensitivity to vertical and
> horizontal structures in the music. Nevertheless, I
> think that, even taking
> into account the far greater importance of the
> instrumental coloration in
> pieces such as Chopin's Etudes, there is more than
> enough purely musical
> interest in these pieces to appeal to someone with
> GG's sensibility, and
> that his resistance to this music is really
> attributable to his aversion to
> its overtly emotional content. What we may have hear
> is a case of the "tail"
> of GG's aesthetic theory wagging the "dog" of his
> gut level emotional
> reactions.
> By the way --the Cortot recordings are fantastic. If
> you haven't heard them,
> you owe it to yourself to give thme a try.
> Daniel Baldwin
> 805 Third Avenue
> New York, NY 10022
> Tel: (212) 702-5700
> Fax: (212) 702-5941
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