Episode 87: Chopin on Chopin

Fugue in A minor, Op. posth.

rc-chopinonchopin-200One can learn a lot about Chopin from Chopin's own words.

"Simplicity is the highest goal, achievable when you have overcome all difficulties…Every difficulty slurred over will be a ghost to disturb your repose later on."

"The Official Bulletin declared that the Poles should be as proud of me as the Germans are of Mozart; obvious nonsense."

Vain and opinionated as Chopin could be, what recurs in his comments about his own art is the high standard he set for himself, and his own doubts about his true worth as an artist:

"I don’t know how it is, but the Germans are amazed at me – and I am amazed at them for find ing anything to be amazed about!"

"In a word, finished artists, take lessons from me and couple my name with that of John Field. In short, if I were still stupider than I am, I should think myself at the apex of my career; yet I know how much I still lack to reach perfection."

Chopin’s letters are chock-full of other composer’s names; but one in particular comes up again and again – as a source of inspiration, education, and perhaps..a kindred spirit:

"Having nothing to do, I am correcting the Paris edition of Bach; not only the engraver’s mistakes, but also the mistakes ‘hallowed’ by those who are supposed to understand Bach (I have no pretensions to understand better, but I do think that sometimes I can guess)."

"Never Forget Bach. Practice Bach constantly – this will be your best means to make progress." - Jennifer Foster & Benjamin K. Roe


Radio Chopin Episode 87: Chopin on Chopin

Fugue in A Minor, Op. posth.