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Chopin - Barcarolle in F-sharp, Op. 60 This is one of the last pieces that Chopin played in public. The excellent notes from the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s website sets the stage:

When in 1846 Frederic Chopin (1810-1849) completed the Barcarolle, the last work of its relatively large size to come from his pen, he was already laid low by the fatal illness that three years later would take his life. He must have had deep affection for the piece, for he included it on the program of a concert he gave in Paris, February 16, 1848, his last appearance in his loved adopted city. Reports of the event tell of this physically depleted man unable to play much above the level of pianissimo even in the Barcarolle’s most expansive sections, a depressing experience for his many friends in the audience.The Barcarolle is the single work of its type in his catalog, which is not surprising considering the limitations imposed by the necessity to maintain a “boat” accompaniment and to invent suitably artless – gondoliere – melodies. In light of these specific guidelines, Chopin has created a composition of remarkable continuity and diversity having, in this temperate context, unexpected dramatic intensity in a soaring climax. (Sudden storm on the Venice canal?) Read more of the notes here.

The Vancouver Chopin Society also has an interesting perspective of the performance challenges of this piece, along with some recording recommendations:

“…It has been the despair of many fine artists, being difficult to interpret successfully. It is easy to sound affected, as does [Claudio] Arrau, or nervous, as does [Vladimir] Horowitz, or too plain, as did [Walter] Gieseking. Chopin must have been its ideal interpreter… The Barcarolle displays Chopin’s ornamental genius in full bloom. Ravel wrote, “Chopin was not content merely to revolutionize piano technique. His figurations are inspired. Through his brilliant passages one perceives profound, enchanting harmonies. Always there is the hidden meaning which is translated into poetry of intense despair. . . . The Barcarolle is the synthesis of the expressive and sumptuous art of this great Slav.”

Hear Arthur Greene perform Chopin’s Barcarolle in F-sharp minor, Op. 60

Read the Wikipedia definition of Barcarolle

Find more recordings

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Experience the musical life of Fryderyk Chopin through his complete works for solo piano: from his earliest surviving work, a polonaise written at age 7, through his last mazurka penned in 1849.

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The Chopin Project began as an ambitious live-concert-and-symposium series at the University of Michigan’s acclaimed School of Music, Theatre & Dance devoted to exploring the entirety of Fryderyk Chopin’s works for solo piano: Through a series of nine concerts at Britton Recital Hall, students from the piano studio of renowned teacher and performer Arthur Greene presented a complete traversal of Chopin’s works: from his earliest surviving work, a polonaise written at age 7, through his last mazurka penned in 1849. A complete list of participants in the U of M Chopin Project can be found here.

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The applause for the acclaimed concerts (check out the blog comments here) had barely died away when Arthur Greene and his top students went into the studio to capture their insightful Chopin interpretations for the Digital Age for Block M Records. For the first time ever, all 129 compositions – the complete solo piano works of Chopin – will be available for download via the iTunes music store, this site, and a number of other online destinations.

But we didn’t stop there. The Chopin Project is really just beginning. We want to share all the resources and the research that went into the recitals, pre-concert talks, and symposia, and add a whole lot more besides: Our goal to create a global online resource for all things connected to the unique, magical, and captivating world of Chopin and the piano. Research, commentary, program, notes, audio, video, even musical scores…we want the Chopin Project to be your “one-stop shop” for considering all Chopin things.

That means we need your help! Your ideas, suggestions and contributions will really make the Chopin Project site “sing.” So bookmark us and explore, discover, and savor the genius of Chopin’s timeless creations.

After playing Chopin, I feel as if I had been weeping over sins that I had never committed, and mourning over tragedies that were not my own. — Oscar Wilde

chopin-head.gifThe Chopin Project is proudly presented by Frederick Slutsky Arts, exclusive representatives for pianist Arthur Greene and other acclaimed performing, visual, and creative artists.

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