Music in Chopin's Warsaw

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9780195130737: Music in Chopin's Warsaw

Music in Chopin's Warsaw examines the rich musical environment of Fryderyk Chopin's youth--largely unknown to the English-speaking world--and places Chopin's early works in the context of this milieu. Halina Goldberg provides a historiographic perspective that allows a new and better understanding of Poland's cultural and musical circumstances. Chopin's Warsaw emerges as a vibrant European city that was home to an opera house, various smaller theaters, one of the earliest modern conservatories in Europe, several societies which organized concerts, musically active churches, spirited salon life, music publishers and bookstores, instrument builders, and for a short time even a weekly paper devoted to music.

Warsaw was aware of and in tune with the most recent European styles and fashions in music, but it was also the cradle of a vernacular musical language that was initiated by the generation of Polish composers before Chopin and which found its full realization in his work. Significantly, this period of cultural revival in the Polish capital coincided with the duration of Chopin's stay there--from his infancy in 1810 to his final departure from his homeland in 1830. An uncanny convergence of political, economic, social, and cultural circumstances generated the dynamic musical, artistic, and intellectual environment that nurtured the developing genius. Had Chopin been born a decade earlier or a decade later, Goldberg argues, the capital--devastated by warfare and stripped of all cultural institutions--could not have provided support for his talent. The young composer would have been compelled to seek musical education abroad and thus would have been deprived of the specifically Polish experience so central to his musical style.

A rigorously-researched and fascinating look at the Warsaw in which Chopin grew up, this book will appeal to students and scholars of nineteenth century music, as well as music lovers and performers.

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About the Author:


Halina Goldberg is Assistant Professor of Musicology in the Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University - Bloomington, where she is also an affiliated faculty member of The Russian and East European Institute, and Adjunct Professor in the Sandra J. Borns Jewish Studies Program.

Review:


"The book should swiftly become foundational for Chopin studies and a source highly beneficial to pianists, those interested in musical Romanticism, and the amateur Chopin enthusiast."--Journal of the American Musicological Society


"This seminal contribution to the Chopin literature by a native of Poland presents richly informative new material and contexts relating to the young composer's environment, some from previously unexamined sources and much unavailable to non-Polish readers. Goldberg explores the many ways in which the vibrant intellectual and musical life of Warsaw influenced Chopin and his music. Prominent among these were the charged political climate, the several types of pianos available to him, and--in addition to his formal musical training--the educational role of the wide range of music he heard in the theater, in concerts, and particularly in connoisseur's salons, which ranged from that of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven (including the "Archduke" Trio) to that of Spohr, Hummel, Dussek, and others. Enjoyment and understanding of Chopin's oeuvre will be greatly enriched by this fascinating volume."--Sandra P. Rosenblum, author of Performance Practices in Classic Piano Music


"This fascinating and richly nuanced portrait of Chopin's Warsaw enriches our understanding of the composer, showing both his Polish roots and where he stands independent from them. A vibrant and rewarding read."--Michael Beckerman, Professor and Chair, Department of Music, New York University


"Music in Chopin's Warsaw documents with astonishing clarity the intellectually engaged and wide-ranging culture that nourished the young Chopin. Halina Goldberg's book will prove enormously helpful to all who wish to understand the 'Polish' in Chopin's music and his life."--Jeffrey Kallberg, Professor and Chair, Department of Music, University of Pennsylvania


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