Chopin

In der neuen Ausgabe der New York Review of Books schreibt Charles Rosen anlässlich des 200. Geburtstags eine überzeugende Apologie der Musik des Frédéric Chopin:

The orthodox view of Chopin as a miniaturist is now pretty much obsolete, exploded, discredited. Many of the large works—ballades, scherzi, sonatas, great polonaises, fantasies, barcarolle—are longer than an average movement of Beethoven. Chopin was, in fact, the only composer of his generation who never, after the age of twenty-one, wrote a long piece that was ineffective. Many of Schumann’s larger works (although not, of course, the finest) have uninspired moments that raise problems for their interpreter of sustaining the interest. There are deserts with few oases in a number of works of Berlioz; and there are not many works of Liszt that are completely exempt from some facile and even trashy pages. But the elegance, distinction, and efficacy of Chopin’s large forms are almost unique for the time in their success.

[…]

The études of Chopin are a triumph of the ambition of Romantic ideology: to raise an insignificant and despised form of art to the sublime, as William Blake had transformed doggerel moral poems for children into the Songs of Innocence. They had a profound influence on later generations, each étude using only one specific technical difficulty, resulting in a limited, unified, idiosyncratic, and striking sonority in every case. The étude in thirds uses only thirds in the right hand, and this opened up the possibility for later composers to create works in which one sonority obsessively dominated the whole, a possibility exploited later by Debussy, Ravel, Scriabin, Prokofiev, and Berg.

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