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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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11. Nineteenth-century Transcriptions of the Polonaise in C sharp Minor op. 26 no. 1 for Violin and Piano


The assertion of an inextricable link between Chopinian texture and the piano has grown so banal that we generally fail to note the contradiction between our convictions of the piano-specific nature of Chopin’s musical discourse and the incredible number of his works in transcriptions for various instruments and ensembles, which would appear to suggest quite the opposite. Could it be that the mechanisms of musical reception, rather than the immanent features of musical discourse, are the supreme determinant of the degree of autonomy of musical texture?

The issues connected with instrumental transcriptions of Chopin’s works, of which just a small part consists of transcriptions for violin and piano, reveal one more fallow field of Chopin studies, traditionally focused on their fundamental remit, namely the scholarly interpretation of Chopin’s life and work. So we will treat our considerations of nineteenth-century transcriptions for violin and piano of Chopin’s Polonaise in C sharp Minor op. 26, no. 1 not just as a contribution to research into this area, but also as an opportunity to attempt to construct a methodological model of description, analysis and interpretation for research into the phenomenon of transcription.

The subject of our survey of sources and the consequent analysis of their musical contents, as well as their interpretation within the historical context, will be six nineteenth-century sources of the Polonaise in C sharp Minor op. 26 no. 1 in the original piano version and in transcriptions for violin and piano. As our primary sources, we...

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