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A Recital


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THE appearance of Schumann's name beside Chopin's inevitably recalls the remark
'Hats off, gentlemen - a genius.' At another time Schumann spoke of Chopin as 'the boldest and proudest poetic spirit of our time.'
Enthusiasm was the mainspring of Schumann's nature, a warm-hearted generosity and outlook which is often part and parcel of the genuinely romantic temperament. Exactly what' romantic' means, as we apply it to the whole school of music on whose behalf Schumann was so tirelessly active, alike as musician and as scribe, is most easily learned by listening to his music itself. If anybody was ever entitled to call one of his own pieces a 'Romance,' it was Schumann.
THE two tributes of Schumann, quoted above, are by no means all that could be said in praise of Chopin. He was one of the world's really great pianists, and a composer for his instrument whose niche in the temple of Fame is peculiarly his own. A master of delicate and original rhythm and harmony, a real master also of style, he holds the affection of pianists and lovers of pianoforte music even more by the fascination of his melodies. Choosing in most of his shorter pieces the forms in which something of rhythm and type are definitely prescribed, he was thus apparently facing himself with the task of saying the same thing over and over again, and yet he never says the same thing twice. Not only did he invest every new Etude, Ballade, Mazurka, whatever it might be, with an interest and an importance such as they never had before, but each one has a message of its own for us, which can neither be repeated nor imitated. It was as though he possessed that magical power, given only to the elect, of transmuting everything he touched into a unique gem, of whose production no other holds the secret.


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This site contains the BBC listings information which the BBC printed in Radio Times between 1923 and 2009. You can search the site for BBC programmes, people, dates and Radio Times editions.

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