Chopin's Piano Sonata in B Flat Minor Opus 35 - Late reception 1940-1996


to Weinstock, is a perfect bridge between the most agitated and brilliant of movements and the "mournful pomps to come."[65] This view contradicts, and in a sense disproves, the earlier reservation of James Huneker that the Funeral March and Finale have nothing to do with the first two movements.


Weinstock concludes his discussion of opus 35 by stating that "...the B-flat minor Sonata seems to me one of the perfect formal achievements of music...I believe that by itself, had Chopin written little else, it would entitle him to a position as peer of the greatest artistic creators."[66] A similar view is echoed by Orga Ates, who states: "Yet [opus 35] can today be seen as one of Chopin's greatest achievements, a grandly handled piece for which no prose can adequately describe its musical essence or the experiences it seems to embody."[67] Mareck and Gordon-Smith likewise feel that opus 35 is "...surely one of the great achievements of piano music, in spite of the bathos which bad playing has smeared over the third movement."[68] Alan Walker calls it a "...noble structure...well in advance of its time," and expresses amazement at the fact that many eminent musicians failed at first to comprehend it fully.[69] The Chopin scholar Vladimir Protopopov likewise believes that opus 35 is among the best of not only Chopin's compositions, but also those of the western classical repertoire in general.[70]


Bernard Gavoty seems puzzled by the indifference opus 35 met from the composers Liszt, Schumann, and Vincent d'Indy: "From the first two - whom, however, the scholastic collar hardly choked - a basic severity astonishes us. Why refuse Chopin that which gives such particular color to his imagination: freedom of form, indifference to stereotyped models?"[71] Of d'Indy, Gavoty states that "With my own ears I have heard [d'Indy] maintain at his course at the Schola Cantorum...that 'it is too bad that Schubert and Chopin were ignorant of counterpoint; this accounts for the poverty of their sonatas.'"[72] This scathing remark with regard to Chopin's sonatas is


[65] ibid., p. 240.

[66] ibid., p. 241.

[67] Ates, Orga. Chopin: His Life and Times (Kent: Midas Books, 1976), p. 104.

[68] Mareck, George R. and Gordon-Smith, M. Chopin (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1978), p. 148.

[69] Walker, Alan. 'Chopin and Musical Structure: An Analytical Approach,' Fr�d�ric Chopin: Profiles of The Man and The Musician ed. Walker, A. (London: Barrie and Rockcliff, 1966), p. 239.

[70] Protopopov, Vladimir. 'Forma Cyklu Sonatowego w utworach F. Chopina,' in Polsko-rogyjskie miscellanea muzyczne (1968), p. 126.

[71] Gavoty, Bernard. Frederic Chopin, tr. Sokolinskes, M. (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1977), p.385.

[72] ibid., p. 386.


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