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Twelve Studies in Chopin

Style, Aesthetics, and Reception

Maciej Golab

The studies collected in this book fall into four chief thematic areas of research on Fryderyk Chopin’s life, stylistic changes, creative output, and musical reception. The first one is devoted to the origins of the composer’s artistic formation in the context of his connections with the Main School of Music at the Royal University of Warsaw. The second thematic area is tied to the problem of Chopin’s musical language and transformation of his individual style. The third group of studies concentrates on issues in Chopin’s musical aesthetics, while the fourth and final one is devoted to the questions of composer’s reception in the 19th-century musical culture in light of the practice of musical transcriptions at the time.
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10. Nineteenth-century Transcriptions of Masterworks: An Attempt at Typology


When J. M. Chomiński and T. D. Turło published their Katalog dzieł Fryderyka Chopina [Catalogue of Works by Fryderyk Chopin],278 the most extensive list of transcriptions of compositions by Chopin to-date which it contained enabled the assessment of this phenomenon’s extent in the history of the last two hundred years. Several years later, my doctoral students and I took up the toil of an analytical survey that was designed to point the way for systematic studies in this neglected complex of issues. It turned out that out of 230 original works by Chopin, as many as 201 had been transcribed,279 and that some compositions (such as the Funeral March from the Sonata in B flat Minor op. 35) were the object of several hundred different settings! It also became clear that no specific period of Chopin’s output was preferred: the early Warsaw compositions as well as those from the 1830s and 1840s were transcribed equally often.280 However, there did exist a historically variable preference in choosing specific compositions as subjects of transcriptions: some were more popular in the nineteenth century (for example, the Funeral March of op. 35, Nocturne in E-flat Major op. 9 no. 2, and the Waltz in E flat Major op. 18), with others taking over in the ← 141 | 142 →twentieth century (such as the Etude in E Major op. 10 no. 3, Polonaise in A Major op. 40 no. 1 or the Waltz in C sharp Minor op. 64 no. 2).281...

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