• 2/2010: Personalities – Fryderyk Chopin

    2/2010: Personalities – Fryderyk Chopin


    ČIERNA, Alena: Preface
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 36, 2010, No. 2, pp. 93 – 94


    STAROSTA, Miloslav: Chopin’s Artistic Poetics and its Resonance
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 36, 2010, No. 2, pp. 95 – 106

    The submitted study was presented within the project ‘Homage to FCH’ on April 22, 2010 at the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava. The author summarized Chopin’s unique artistic poetics and its resonance from several aspects. He presents some very important influences which had formed it, as well as its influence on Chopin’s successors: the following generations of composers, and his pupils who were sensitively developing the spirit of Chopin’s artistic pedagogics. The substantial features of the piano composition, development of pianistics and pedagogics of the piano play of the Polish genius are analyzed briefly. In all these realms conspicuous attributes of a new musical mind predominated, the unusually peculiar piano sound and striking performing characteristics marked by a unique art of improvisation. Nonetheless, the master had preserved his links to the roots of the Polish traditional music, as well as to great paragons of the past: Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Hummel, Bellini…, and to the vocal art of bel canto. The traces of his influence are apparent in the music of Debussy, Fauré,
    Delius, Ravel, Skriabin, Balakirev, Lyadov, Szymanowski, as well as in the music of composers from Latin America; they reach as far as to Messiaen and other composers. Chopin’s bequest has been also preserved naturally due to the great number of performers of both the past and the present. He remains an obligatory discipline for disciples of pianistics and a constant challenge for matured artists. However, basically he is still an exceptional composer, whose achievements could not be diluted even by the passing of the centuries.

    KUTRZEBA, Stefan: Studies on Chopin’s Method: the Role of a Musical Image in the Development of the Piano Playing Technique; 11 Aspects of the Problem
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 36, 2010, No. 2, pp. 107 – 123

    According to the  “Sketches for a piano method” written by F. Chopin, one can easily be assured that Chopin’s approach to teaching and playing the piano was strictly determined, not by any mechanically oriented point of view; on the contrarz, it strongly depended on his aesthetical tastes and slants.
    This aspect of the matter definitely differentiates entire Chopin’s method from all the teaching systems of his time and even more – from many methods, invented after 1950, from the so-called Taubman approach, G. Sandor’s views, and from any of attempts to apply the Feldenkrais method to the piano teaching and playing.
    The role of the so-called Musical Image in piano teaching invented in accordance with Chopin’s approach is being presented from many angles and views:
    – Chopin’s definitions of music;
    – Their influence on the subject;
    – Observing and evaluating the world of music;
    – Piano playing as the mind & body activity;
    – Fingers vs hearing and memory;
    – Musical Image as the pole star in playing the piano;
    – Forms of acting;
    – Form vs the chain of sounds?
    – The musical time in playing the piano;
    – Physics and empathy;
    – Piano teaching and socialization.

    The rules proposed by Chopin applied in practice will put our teaching in harmony with the ideals proclaimed by the greatest of the greatest Masters in theory and practice of the general education; Chopin as a teacher evidently belongs to this group.

    TOMASZEWSKI, Mieczysław: Chopin’s Music – Phenomenon and Paradox
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 36, 2010, No. 2, pp. 124 – 131

    In the second half of the previous century and at the beginning of the current century an increased interest in Fryderyk Chopin’s music has been noticed by the contemporary world musicology. Two latest Chopin conferences (1999 and 2010) presented the results of new researches, views and methods. New trends – poststructuralism, semiotics, intertextuality, narratology and postphenomenology oriented on hermeneutics and existentialism have proved their usefulness. In spite of this the research focused on the phenomenon of Chopin’s music is perceived as insufficient namely when speaking about the aspect of the comprehension of its specially significant and essential components.

    The history of the perception of Chopin’s music reveals that expression has been its significant component. Since the beginning till now the unusual variability of expression and outstanding power of its emotional urge have become the object of admiration and fascination. Academic musicology, scientistic and positivistic one, was not accepted at the turn of the 20th century. Only recently several authors (E. T. Cone, J. Rink, E. Tarasti and others) have cautiously returned to the research using various methods. One of the methods, useful for a study of categories of expressive music pieces, may be the one codified by H. H. Eggebrecht for the study of Beethoven’s compositions – the method based on the perception of music. Using this method we attempted at a synthetic approach to Chopin’s music. Applying its constitutive attributes we may identify three syndromes: 1) syndrome of expressive categories (stylistical idioms); 2) syndrome of axiologically important aspects (significant attributes) and 3) syndrome of paradoxical attributes awaiting its immediate comprehension.

    ŠTEFKOVÁ, Markéta: Piano Concertos by Johann Nepomuk Hummel as a Bridge between Mozart and Chopin
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 36, 2010, No. 2, pp. 132 – 150

    On the basis of comparative analyses the author endeavours to point to the fact that Hummel’s piano concertos A Minor Op. 85 and B Minor Op. 89 may be considered as an immediate binding component between the poetics of piano concertos of Hummel’s teacher Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and the poetics of Fryderyk Chopin’s piano concertos E Minor Op. 11 and F Minor Op. 21, heavily influenced by Hummel. Although Hummel, beside Beethoven, is one of the most important bridges leading to the 19 century and his influence on the development namely of piano music of the period is undeniable, Hummel’s work lost its popularity shortly after his death. This process was certainly helped also by high technical demands laid on performers. Chopin’s musical imagination was based on instruments equipped with modern, so called English mechanics, which in the course of the 19th century won its way against the then existing “Viennese” mechanics. Chopin’s piano works are thus technically more accessible for pianists. That is why Chopin’s piano concertos E Minor Op. 11 and F Minor Op. 21 as the only representatives of the brilliant style tradition have become part of modern concert repertory and some typical stylistic innovations being originally Hummel’s “invention” are still erroneously ascribed to Chopin.

    PALOVIČOVÁ, Jordana: J. N. Hummel’s Piano Concertos as a Model for F. Chopin
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 36, 2010, No. 2, pp. 151 – 162

    The article deals with J. N. Hummel’s piano concertos as a model for piano concertos by F. Chopin. The author familiarizes the reader with the misconception of Hummel’s music often seen as predominantly technical, stressing the melodic and expressive element of his Piano concerto A minor op. 85. Furthermore it deals with some affinities in terms of stile brillante that can be traced in Chopin’s music. The article also points out several aspects of Hummel’s compositional style and texture serving as a possible inspiration for Chopin, e. g. accompaniment of the main theme, ornamentation, particular technical problems such as chromatic passages in unison or thirds, broken intervals, parallel scales, polyphony in one hand combining brilliant semiquavers with longer quavers, tremolos and glissandos, big leaps over more than one octave in left hand combined with virtuoso elements in right hand etc. On the basis of numerous examples the reader can easily compare the style and correlations between both composers.

    SLÁVIKOVÁ, Vladimíra: Fryderyk Chopin and his Teaching Activity
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 36, 2010, No. 2, pp. 163 – 170

    While F. Chopin is universally perceived as an ingenious composer, his influence as a pedagogue is in no way less important. As a child, Chopin was taught music by Czech musician Vojtěch Živný, who preferred J. S. Bach and W. A. Mozart’s works. The two giants, especially Bach, infatuated Chopin both with composition and teaching. He rejected pianistic educational practices of his time (“technique first, music later”); instead, he practised and in unfinished Sketches for a Piano Method presented his own ideas based on pedagogical legacy of 18 century. The main principle is: Work on technique cannot be separated from interpretation, development of musical intellect and creative fantasy. Vocal music presents the ideal and teaching heads towards its principles – phrase building, refinement of cantilene, rich articulation and preference of legato cantabile, new fingering principles stemming from aesthetic opinions and sound capabilities of piano, innovative use of pedal. To Chopin’s pupils belong Georges Mathias, who helped establish French piano school, and Karol Mikuli, an excellent long-time teacher and director at Lviv Conservatory. Chopin’s artistic and pedagogical legacy has been further developed by other piano schools; e. g. in 1930 K. Leimer and W. Gieseking published their Piano Technique (in Germany). The currentness of Chopin’s theses documents his pedagogical importance, comparable to that of the greatest music teachers.


    MAJCHRZAK, Mirosław: Supposition on the Theme of the Minor Scale. The Differences in the Tonal Structure of Selected Chopin’s Works with Respect to the Key on the Basis of the Statistical Method of Music Analysis
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 36, 2010, No. 2, pp. 171 – 174

    The major-minor system which originated around the turn of the Renaissance and Baroque periods played a certain role in the shape and development of music in the following epochs. Observing the studies from the field of music theory we may say that the opinions of scholars about the relations between the major and minor scales are usually similar. Many music theoreticians claim we can reasonably explain only the existence of the major scale. The minor scale is considered an unnatural alteration of the major scale (e. g. Kepler 1619, Mersenne 1636–1637, Descartes 1650, Rameau 1722). The goal of the submitted contribution is to point out the differences in the tonal structure of selected works by Fryderyk Chopin from the point of view of the key. The following forms were analysed: mazurka, etudes, preludes and songs.

    FERKOVÁ, Eva: Tectonics and Harmonic Language of Chopin’s Mazurkas
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 36, 2010, No. 2, pp. 175 – 194

    What the listener “identifies” as a handwriting of a composer may be in many cases deciphered as a typical and unique harmonic pattern (structure and relation) of Chopin’s poetics, usually eased, blurred and uncertain, filled by ephemeral acoustic beauties and leading to impressionistic atonality and timbre, but – for the time being – on the principle of condensed tonal chromatics, swiftly changing diatonics and unfinished or suprisingly modified cadencing.
    Chopin reached the blurring of the key exclusively by centralizing means, he used the power of centralization and decentralization of chords and of break of their classical resolutions. New subtle timbres, shades and moods originated.
    In many cases harmony became the main means of imitation of emotional tension, its gradation or its various variants and nuances. Here harmony is the most powerful tool for remaining in the sphere of impressions of sombreness, uncertainty, obscurity, doubtfulness, even desperation and grief.
    Chopin added also metre, tempo and articulation for easing or stressing the beats when necessary. On the contrary, where he needed to inhale joy, dancing definiteness and brightness into the music, it is articulated in unambiguous mostly major keys and cadence progressions, lacking the rotation of the tonal axis or multiplication of the directing tension of characteristic dissonances, mostly in diatonic pureness and clarity of a tuneful melody.
    Spectrum of tempi, of moods and timbre, this is the main domain of Chopin’s mazurkas and harmony was one of the most powerful means for their rendering.


    IRŠAI, Jevgenij: “Soothe Me by Gloomy Chopin”
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 36, 2010, No. 2, pp. 195 – 199


    STAROSTA, Miloslav: Alena Kručayová: Klavírna hra ako súčasť hudobného vzdelávania na Slovensku v 19. a na začiatku 20. storočia
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 36, 2010, No. 2, pp. 200 – 201

    [The contribution is available only in Slovak language in the printed version of the revue.]