By Jim Samson
Chopin's 4 ballades are commonly considered as being one of the most important prolonged works for solo piano of the 19th century. In an illuminating dialogue, Jim Samson combines heritage and research to supply a entire photo of those renowned piano works, investigating the social and musical heritage to Chopin's track, comparing the numerous revealed versions of the ballads sooner than contemplating their severe reception and the differing interpretations of recognized 19th- and twentieth-century pianists.
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Extra info for Chopin: The Four Ballades (Cambridge Music Handbooks)
The earliest were the two French editions of 1860, one (Schonenberger) edited by Fetis and the other (Richault) by Chopin's Norwegian pupil Thomas Tellefsen. Already there were significant differences of orientation in these two early editions, although both were based on the same source - the first French editions. Where the Schonenberger set out to achieve a satisfactory text in the judgement of the editor, the Richault tried to recreate the composer's intentions. By modern standards the results are wayward in both cases, but for very different reasons.
Other collected editions began at an early stage, often with the direct involvement of Chopin's pupils, and some at least included the music published posthumously (Meissonier, Paris; Adolf Martin Schlesinger, Berlin) by Julian Fontana in 1855 and 1859 in close consultation with the composer's family. The earliest were the two French editions of 1860, one (Schonenberger) edited by Fetis and the other (Richault) by Chopin's Norwegian pupil Thomas Tellefsen. Already there were significant differences of orientation in these two early editions, although both were based on the same source - the first French editions.
This is the only surviving fair copy of the three which Chopin 25 Chopin: The Four Ballades prepared as Stichvorlagen (a letter to Wessel indicates an autograph for the English edition), and it was probably the one sent to Leipzig. It was owned by Mendelssohn's wife and was given to the Bodleian Library, Oxford as part of the Margaret Deneke collection. There is internal evidence that the first German edition was based on this autograph (missing dynamics at the opening, missing slurs at bar 38, placing of the rit.