Chopin Course 12 – Trois Nouvelles Etudes No.1 in F minor

Today a very atmospheric and poetic Etude, very different indeed from the 'Winter Wind' Etude of the last Chopin Course post, which certainly had a lot of atmosphere, but a very different kind of atmosphere. The Winter Wind was dark and wild; this one is dark and moody. The Slavic soul is a deep and strange place - in the West we are much more even-tempered and calm (most of us); in the East there are much greater fluctuations of mood. And this particular mood - melancholy - is a major one, celebrated in the East, but discouraged in the West. This Etude wafts in on a sadly gentle breeze, then meanders along, not quite knowing where it wants to go. It doesn't really want to go anywhere; it just wants to Be. By contrast, the Winter Wind knew exactly where it was going - with ferocious certainty. Liszt liked this Etude so much he introduced a repetition of the main section (his repeat starting at 2'22"), thereby extending this short poem to almost double its length. I wish I had Liszt's self-confidence; these days one dares not alter or add a single note to anything Chopin wrote. And everything he wrote is pretty good just the way it is.

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