Catapulting into Classical

A headlong leap into music, history, and composing

Sorry, Chopin, and Thank You

3 Comments

Frederic Chopin

Hi readers!  I feel the need to revise this post now that I have more information on the piece presented here.  My original post is in plain text.  My amendments are in italics.

I recently saw a Twitter post that included a performance of one of Chopin’s works. Titled Largo, it was a piece I was unfamiliar with. Short, a little sentimental. Beautiful. Undeniably Chopin.*

And now the asterisk, the bane of a baseball player’s record, comes into play here.  While the style may be undeniably Chopin, the Largo that is so beautiful is a piano arrangement of Handel’s Largo.  See the video below.

And had Chopin’s wishes been carried out, we would never have heard it.

Chopin’s final request was that all his unpublished manuscripts be destroyed. However, his mother and sisters intervened; instead, they had Julian Fontana review the manuscripts and put together a posthumous collection. [1]

This may be why Chopin requested that his manuscripts be destroyed.  He didn’t want his noodling around, riffing on Handel, to be mixed in with his own work, some of which he may have considered unfinished, or unpolished.  Oddly, when I then listened to Handel’s Largo, I remembered it, but didn’t make the connection when I first heard Chopin’s version.  Reminds me of my Chopin+performer post, except here we have Handel+Chopin.

Among the rescued pieces are a collection of Polish songs, and a variety of piano pieces, including wonderful nocturnes and waltzes.

Here is Largo, performed by pianist James Rhodes.  The tweet reads, “Today I discovered a Chopin piece that I had never heard before.  I can’t believe it.  It’s only two minutes long, but I LOVE it.  His ‘Largo, B109.’ I hope you enjoy it.”

And here is a lovely performance of Handel’s Largo

 

So, apologies to Chopin for not carrying out his wishes, but a thank you for adding a little more beauty to the world.  Because Handel in the hands of Chopin is also a wonderful thing.

If you’d like to read about more about works almost lost to time, check out these posts about the rediscovery of pieces by Shostakovich, Vivaldi, Telemann (here too), Stravinsky, Mozart (and here), and Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel.

Thanks to weemspiano for kindly pointing out the Handel connection that I missed before posting, prompting this revision.

And thanks to all the readers along with me on this random walk I call Catapulting into Classical.

_____

* Not an actual footnote.  Just keep reading.

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miscellaneous_compositions_(Chopin).

3 thoughts on “Sorry, Chopin, and Thank You

  1. I think I’ll do my best work posthumously!

    Louis

    On Tue, Nov 12, 2019 at 7:01 PM Catapulting into Classical wrote:

    > Chris Gallant posted: ” I recently saw a Twitter post that included a > performance of one of Chopin’s works. Titled Largo, it was a piece I was > unfamiliar with. Short, a little sentimental. Beautiful. Undeniably Chopin. > And had Chopin’s wishes been carried out, we would never ” >

    Liked by 1 person

  2. No point in rushing into overachieving! Look how Mozart ended up… 🙂

    Like

  3. I wonder if Chopin was thinking of Handel’s Largo when he wrote this.

    Liked by 1 person

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