Friday, February 4, 2011
Heaven and Hell: A Year of Liszt
Daniel Wnukowski, piano
Ballade No. 2 in F major, Op. 38
The ballades are among the most dramatic and finest works of Chopin. The nineteenth century critics were notorious for propagating the idea that all music from this period must have somehow been derived from literary or programmatic associations. Most notably, Robert Schumann proclaimed that the ballades may have been directly inspired by the Lithuanian ballads of the Polish poet Adam Mickiewicz. These literary connections are certainly very interesting but can lose touch with the core essence of Chopin’s genius; that the ballads are in fact worlds of their own combining traditional forms with poetic expressions and heightened musical nuances.
The second ballade begins with a serene and peaceful chorale and is starkly contrasted with an alternating theme marked “Presto con fuoco”. Rubinstein interpreted this piece as “Flower-Storm-Flower”, with the Flower broken at the end. [Read more…]