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Chopin Prelude in G# minor - op. 28 no.12

Discussion in 'Repertoire' started by pianolady, Aug 30, 2007.

  1. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    I currently working on a couple preludes and I would like to know your opinion about a certain spot on this one. It's at measure 23. The second RH top note shows a C, which would mean a C# because of the key signature. But Kissin and Argerich play it as a C-natural, as do a few other recordings I've heard. I have two Preludes books and they are both different from each other. My one book has an explanation at the bottom that reads: The C-natural in the Mikuli, Joseffy and other editions is incorrect. The Autograph has C#, as do the first French and German editions.

    If this is the case, why does everybody play it as a C-natural? What would you play?
     
  2. juufa72

    juufa72 New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Play it as Chopin wrote it, so in this case it would be a C#....that's what I am understanding from your text.
     
  3. Anonymous

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    Monica, my Henle Edition (urtext) has a natural in brackets.

    Because it makes more sense. Measures 21-28 show a diatonic sequence, with 2 chained perfect cadences (II-V7-I: b-E7-a and a-D7-G). C-natural makes more sense in a modulation to A minor. Look at Ms. 27 for comparison.

    I would play C-natural.
     
  4. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    J - I wish it were that easy. But Chopin is known to make revisions over and over again. I can almost picture him as he sits in his carriage on the way to the publisher. A manuscript sits on his lap and he's making yet another change. Perhaps the ink isn't dry yet when he reluctanctly hands the music over to the publisher and it runs or the publisher man can't make out all the scribbled-over marks. Who knows.....

    Coccobill - That makes a lot of sense. Especially comparing it with measure 27. Thanks for helping me, here. I'm going with the C-natural.

    But now I have another question. At measure 30 my book says to play the last RH octave D's as D-natural. Does your Henle edition show a D# instead? I think that is also what I hear most often.
     
  5. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    Nope, Henle shows a D-natural (and I would be surprised to find a D-sharp there). Compare measures 29-30 (harmonically static) with measures 31-32 (modulating), they are almost identical but take a different harmonic direction. At the beginning of ms. 30, in the bass, E-B instead of C-G gives a hint of such a direction.
     
  6. Terez

    Terez New Member

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    Chopin was human, too :shock: I know, I know...but that was the whole reason why Mikuli (one of Chopin's students) set out to make new editions of Chopin's music - the French and German editions had several mistakes in them, some of which were mistakes of the editors, and some of which were just "typos" made on the autograph.
    I disagree. (By the way, Mikuli has D-sharp.) Anyway, the D# makes a B7 (dominant 7) chord which is a natural precursor to an E chord (major or minor, but minor in this case). The D natural would make it a B minor 7 chord. This is the same problem I discussed with the 10/4 etude on the audition board - the minor 7 chord isn't a great pivot chord for this progression. That is why the same chord (the B dominant 7) is used on the third beat of measure 32 to lead to the E minor chord again. Yeah, measure 29 starts with a C chord. But it is preceded by a G chord, which is the dominant of C, just as B is the dominant of E.

    D natural on the 3rd beat of measure 30 just sounds bad to me.
     
  7. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    So what is an autograph, anyway? I assumed it was the original manuscript, the very first piece of paper that Chopin wrote on. Maybe I'm wrong about that and it is actually his first re-write of a composition? Or maybe it's something somebody else re-wrote and he signed off on it, giving it his ok? I should probably research this, but if anyone knows, feel free to tell me. :)

    As far as that D or D# goes, both my books again have it differently. Tomorrow, I'll go listen to every recording I can of this prelude again and see what is most common.
     
  8. Terez

    Terez New Member

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    The only recording on PS has D natural. I also have Ashkenazy, who plays D#. I'll email that one to you if you like - just drop me your email in my inbox. :)
     
  9. Anonymous

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    Terez, at bar 30 there is not a modulation to E minor. Then, D#-G across bar 30-31 would be a really awkward melodic jump. Moreover, notice how long the 7th (A) of the B chord lasts at bar 30 (a quaver) and at bar 32 (a crotchet, compassing the D#). Chopin's writing is full of these subtleties and he wouldn't have spoiled the modulation at bar 32 anticipating the D# two bars earlier.

    IMVHO you're misinterpreting that passage, there is not any analogy there.

    In the attachment you can find a scan of the Henle commentary about that problem. Unfortunately it is in German, so I hope that a charitable German speaker at PS can help us. MindenBlues, maybe?
    What I understand is:
    1. In the autograph the original alterations are deleted;
    2. In the Fontana's copy they are (re)added by pencil, but not in Chopin's hand;
    3. All the sources (but Mikuli and Paderewski editions) have D-natural;
    4. There are harmonic and melodic reasons that lead to having D-natural at bar 30.
     
  10. MindenBlues

    MindenBlues New Member Piano Society Artist

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    I'll try a translation (but isn't there the same critical remark in english in your book?), and please excuse my surely improper translation (I would however like to know what sounds strange beside the long wounded phrases which are common in German):

    In A the original accidentals in the last treblet octave were crossed-out , in AB there is added a sharp before every of those octave notes with pencil, appearently from a stranger hand. F has here no accidentals. In D and W there is a natural sign before the lower octave tone. But since there is a sharp after the natural sign and before the 2nd eigth note in bar 32 in A as well as in AB and in the First Editions, a distinction in the harmonic of both bars seems to be intentional, even more because this spot lives from the major/minor change.
    Furthermore the downwards directed jump d2-g1 in the melodic line (bar 30-31) is more likely as d#2-g1.
    In bar 32 the d#2 has an emphasized leading tone function. M and Pad note the last octace in bar 30 with #.


    To the table:
    AB: copy
    M and Pad were used for the text revision, however without allowing them independant value as source.
     
  11. Anonymous

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    Olaf, thank you very much. Unfortunately the Kritischer Bericht has not been translated in English (or French).
     
  12. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Again, both Kissin and Argerich play it D#. I have a couple more recordings to listen to. Thank you to all of you who have helped, although I am slightly more confused than before. (you guys are too good) And to top it off, there's yet another descrepancy in this prelude toward the end. I think I'll just wing it on that spot and hope for the best.
     

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