I am sharing a favorite piece and performer of mine this week.
First, Vladimir Horowitz is one of my favorite pianists of the 20th-century. So, you will be seeing much more of him in the future. A few years ago I had the opportunity to spend some time playing his piano and it was one of the most incredible musical experiences in my life. I want you to watch his mental focus and his technical skill.
Chopin is always a popular choice with pianists. This is a fun composition and has some ties to popular music from the middle of the 20th-century, which I’ll talk about in a few minutes.
Polonaise in A-flat Major, Op. 53
This piece was written by Frédéric Chopin in 1842 and is often called the Heroic Polonaise. After hearing this piece, George Sand (a companion of Chopin), wrote, “The inspiration! The strength! The vigour! There is no doubt that such a spirit must be present in the French Revolution. From now on this polonaise should be a symbol, a symbol of heroicness!”
This piece is quite difficult and includes technical such technical requirements as quick scales, fast arpeggios, broken chords, trills with weaker fingers, chords with wide fingering, rapid octave scaling, fast ascending chromatic perfect fourths, and use of a wide range of the piano keyboard.
Till the End of Time
This is a popular song composed by Buddy Kaye and Ted Mossmon. It was published in 1945 and the melody is based on the Polonaise in A-flat Major, Op. 53. There have been a lot of recordings made of this piece. Some of the artists include Dick Haymes, Les Brown Orchestra/Doris Day, Ginny Simms, and Perry Como. It first reached the Billboard magazine charts in August 1945 and remained there for 17 weeks, spending 10 weeks at the top.
Assignment (Do for both pieces):
What is the structure of this piece? Do you hear certain parts played more than once? Draw me a map.
Draw a picture or write a story that describes the mood of the piece.