Chopin (1810-1849) occupies a special place in the heart of music lovers, because his music, like no other, elicits an irresistible emotional response from listeners.
From the beginning, his compositions reflecting his Polish heritage were celebrated and encouraged. By the time he left Poland for good in 1830, Chopin already enjoyed the reputation of a national composer. It was understood that he needed to pursue his career near the great cultural centers of Europe. So, after a rather unsatisfying stay in Vienna, he moved to Paris where he rapidly stood out with "an abundance of original ideas not to be found anywhere else," as ascertained in a review by Fétis.
After marriage with Maria Wodzinska was denied by her family, given their concern for Chopin's health, he was primed to fall for George Sand. In order to help him recover his health, they traveled together to Majorca with George's two young children, in search for a warmer climate. Chopin immediately resolved to finish his twenty-four Preludes, which had long been promised to publishers. Unfortunately, another health crisis forced them to move to the deserted monastery of Valdemosa. Despite unusually stormy weather and rudimentary living conditions, so dramatically recounted by Sand in her Histoire de ma vie, he successfully completed his task.
More important than the nightmarish circumstances surrounding their creation is the understanding of Chopin's quasi-symbiotic relationship with the piano. His approach was of an improvisatory nature: playing and composing melted into one another. Writing it down was what required an effort.
Chopin's "accompanied melody" style bears close resemblance to Bellini's cavatinas. His unique sentimental expression could be derived from habits such as dwelling on the dissonant note of appogiaturas, moving between major and minor modes or, as illustrated in this particular prelude, lingering in a "harmonic daydream" upon repeated notes and chords acting as a hypnotic drone.
The fifteenth in a collection of pieces written in each of the 24 keys, in imitation of Bach, this Prelude No. 15 was considered "the most important and most highly finished of them all" by the French pianist Alfred Cortot in his practice edition.
Once the central modulation from D b Major to C # Minor is taken care of enharmonically, in this situation by carrying through the key signature of five flats to the end, there are no more serious obstacles to performing it on the harp; that is the necessary "infringement" to the rules. The music may look "atonal" in places, but the ear will recognize the charged harmonic fluctuations as appropriate. The autograph edition was followed for most details such as the length of held notes, but some passages are written the way they sound as played on the harp, rather than how they need to be played on the piano. No other simplifications than a different division of the hands and the elimination of very few chromatic notes in the melodic flourishes have been imparted.
|Title:||Prelude #15 Opus 28 (Raindrop)|
||Frederic Chopin (1810-1849)|
|Arranger:||Transcribed for harp and edited by Dominique Piana|
|Level:||Intermediate to Advanced|
|Format:||Harp Part stapled|
|Size:||11" x 8.5" (US Letter)|
|Publisher:||Editions Harpiana Publications|