a sonata, some ballades

sonata no. 3 in b

Sonatas. Yes, I’m dragging Beethoven into this. I’ve always considered Beethoven’s sonatas to be pretty much perfection. A journey from one end of the sonata to the other, from potential to completion, from idea to realization. A working-out of ideas. A complete mental and physical process (not to mention emotional, spiritual, etc.), very internal, self-sufficient and self-contained. I guess that’s part of the appeal for me – it’s almost defiantly self-sufficient, whether by necessity or by choice, it accepts its cross and sees it through To The End.

Chopin’s sonatas seem to me completely different. Again, they are more story-like. They’re not necessarily external – in fact, they can be quite introverted. But they watch a process unfold instead of controlling it. They ponder possibilities, what-ifs, how-comes, and what-goes-on instead of actively taking control of what goes on. In any case, Chopin’s sonatas are definitely not defiant. Whereas the truth of Beethoven’s sonatas are reached through the active process, the truth of Chopin’s sonatas are reached through observation and possibility.

ballades 2 and 4

I really love the ballades. I love them more than anything else Chopin wrote. They are the epitome of his story-telling. It’s like reading a good novel, but in about 10 minutes. I’m actually finding it hard to say anything, since the music itself says everything I’d want to say. So I’m just not going to try.

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