The purpose of this document is to prepare the performer for a well-grounded historical and analytical approach to the four Ballades of Frederic Chopin, thereby facilitating and benefiting the actual performance.
The first chapter is a survey of the multiple roles of Chopin (as a Pole, a pianist, a piano teacher, a composer, and an artist) and of his musical output. The second chapter briefly traces the history of the ballade from its vocal origin to the time of Chopin. It proceeds to discuss the historical background of Chopin's ballades and provides an in-depth analysis of each ballade. The analysis focuses on the application of the sonata principle, the integration of thematic materials, and the techniques of harmonic elaboration and dominant prolongation within the tonal structure. The third chapter covers practical aspects of performance, including the evolution of the piano, the selection of an edition, performance practice, rubato playing, and pedaling.
This document will be presented in conjunction with a DMA lecture-recital of the four Ballades of Chopin.