Chopin - A Listener's Guide to the Master of the Piano
Frédéric Chopin died a famous man with his place in the musical pantheon secure. Yet the works that were once most popular tended to be his lightest and least challenging, leading many listeners and critics to view him as a miniaturist and composer for the salon. The bold pieces now revered as his masterpieces-the epic and tragic structures of the ballades, scherzos, polonaises, and sonatas, and the compact but daring preludes and mazurkas-were rarely played and poorly understood. In fact, a larger proportion of Chopin's pieces are now in the active repertory than that of any composer. Chopin - A Listener's Guide to the Master of the Piano takes a detailed tour through the life and oeuvre of the sovereign master of the keyboard. The composer's metabolic adaptation of the melodic structures of Italian opera and the folk music of his native Poland for the resources of the piano are examined in detail, as are the originality and boldness he displayed throughout his tragically short, astonishing career. The book is accompanied by a CD containing 15 complete compositions (and one full movement from his Piano Sonata No. 2) performed by pianist Idil Biret, from her complete survey of the composer's music on the Naxos label.