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During the years Chopin was the organist at his liceum. During this long period, on Sundays and on religious holidays the whole family participated in church services. In Poland—unlike in other Catholic countries— songs collectively sung by everyone in the vernacular took up a large portion of and played an important role in services as well as the liturgy of the Mass even in defiance of Church laws! An affection for religious songs was common in Poland.

Did Chopin remember these songs during the later years of his life? The facts prove that he knew them well and that they were dear to him. It might suffice to cite an early letter from Paris to Tytus Woyciechowski written December 25, It is very likely that religious songs were also hummed at the time. And my heart, where have I wasted it?

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Certainly he remembered them very well. I have reason to believe, even, that he remembered more religious songs, and that they were better preserved in his memory.

For there is no doubt that Chopin held dear to him everything that reminded him of Poland: It seems that Polish religious songs were emotionally and ideologically precious to him. Chopin often drew from a rich fund of Polish religious folklore. Religious songs were a source of invention for him, creative material, the substance of new works.

What does one call them? I will not try to define them. Chopin did not think in such categories. Spontaneously—according to need, invention, inspiration—he took advantage of a rich source well known to him, namely, the fund of Polish religious songs. Most often he turned to serious, expressive, and dramatic songs, but he also did not avoid simple works with an emotionally religious undertone.

15 Études mélodiques, Op.43 (Nollet, Eugène)

Marian songs of a patriotic nature were especially favored. It also seems that song texts played an equally important role. Songs texts sometimes provided creative inspiration, were perhaps even involved in the creative act. Melodic motives, phrases, and musical periods were source material for Chopin. He usually drew from the beginning or ending of a song, sometimes from the refrain. Source material underwent creative composition. Most often this involved rhythmic and melodic modifications: One also encounters the transfer of a melodic line to different voices an exchange among voices , contrapuntal continuation of a melody, in various intervals.

Already begun motives or phrases are shifted by a third or sixth for him they were still audible. In his thematic motivic work, there are obviously simple, sequential, analogous, and contrasting repetitions—a great richness, variety, uniqueness, artfulness.

Stephen Heller – Wikipedie

A motive, phrase although it might be short and of little significance repeated several times plays an important formal role. Generally melody is very important in his compositions. Although these collections were published between and , they included earlier compositions already widely well known.

I therefore present them in modern edition. It is believed that this work was composed at the beginning of February in This funeral ceremony was also an expression of national commitment. Chopin experienced it with deep emotion. Salve, with its numerous translations and melodic versions, was very popular in Poland. There were even societies and foundations that cultivated this song during Marian holy days and mournful ceremonies. Chopin uses the four-measure beginning and the ending phrase of the song. It is conceivable that a short motive from the Latin antiphonal chant also appears in the closing fragment variously realized.

See Examples 1a, 1b, 1c.


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Quotations from three Marian songs can be found in the composition: The first song has two melodies. Chopin uses the more popular melody see example 2b. The Polish text and melody date back to the eighteenth century. In time around this melody was also applied the patriotic Marian song Serdeczna Matko and not the other way around, as is widely believed. This is a familiar example: There are two melodic versions of this Christmas carol that are confused with each other.

Chopin uses the melody of the first four measures as well as the last two measures, but he changes the leap of a lowered fourth for a raised second. To date, this has gone unnoticed see example 3b. An earlier fragment measures is even more mysterious. In this short measure piano miniature, march-like chords play a certain conspicuous role in the left hand.


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  6. Examples are found below. Two main motives from the song variously presented are realized legato melodically and are interrupted by rests. This creates a certain suspirium , sighing, or perhaps also refers to an earlier hocket technique the interruption of a melody by rests. It is possible that this technique might serve as the formal principle of the entire work. We encounter here a phenomenon where the later part of a phrase or motive already begun is moved down a third.

    The themes undergo a rich factural transformation and modulation see example 6. A Christmas carol appears in this Etude much like in the B minor Scherzo. It is a carol very well known throughout Poland and, to date, unnoticed by Chopin scholars.

    Chopin treated this Christmas carol with unusual care. This was in all likelihood very dear to him. Specific melodic-rhythmic fragments of this song not only served as valuable pitch material for this work, but also as a formal foundation for the entire composition. See example 7 below. The beginning two-measure phrase of the Christmas carol melody which appears twice , artfully reworked with a short imitation appears in measures and , and, in part, also in measures and see example 7b below, or. The ending melodic fragment, also made up of two measures, found its way into measures , , as well as a fourth lower in measures However, the short three-note melodic motive of the refrain ascending by seconds and repeated in the Christmas carol a second higher variously transformed enharmonic pitches, ascending and descending , saturates the entire work, while the three-note falling melodic-rhythmic figure with a figurational ending occurs no less than eight times in measures , becoming a formal foundation for this section of the Etude.

    Stephen Heller was born in Pest now Budapest , Hungary in He had been destined for a legal career, but instead decided to devote his life to music. Brauer, at the Budapest Theater. He played so well that he was sent to study in Vienna, Austria, under Carl Czerny.

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    Unable to afford Czerny's expensive fees, he became a student of Anton Halm. After passing the winter of at Hamburg, he was taken ill at Augsburg in the summer of He abandoned the tour there and was soon afterwards adopted by a wealthy patron of music.

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    Here Heller eventually achieved distinction both as a concert performer and as a teacher. He taught piano to Isidor Philipp who later became the head of the piano department of the Conservatoire de Paris. With these brief interruptions, the last twenty-five years of his life were spent at Paris.