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Chopin's March, Chopin's Death

Chopin's March, Chopin's Death JEFFREY KALLBERG Chopin’s March Chopin’s Death Chopin’s March, Chopin’s Death JEFFREY KALLBERG Perhaps we should demur at the prospect of elaborate commemorations of a composer’s death. The logic behind these tributes is generally dubious. Rather than arising from any set of inherent meanings, celebrations of the anniversaries of a composer’s demise seem instead provoked by more-or-less mercenary market forces—promoters seeking ways to sell more recordings and tickets, scholars and musicians enhancing their professional pro les through the vehicle of the object of their veneration. Scratch below the surface of almost all remembrances of composers’ deaths, and the principal sentiment lurking there often resembles “any excuse for a party.” But the recently completed commemorations of the 150th anniversary of Chopin’s death arguably made as much sense as remembrances of his birth. Chopin’s tragically early passing looms large in our basic image of the composer. Only his Polish origins have played as signi cant a role in coloring his reception from 1849 to the present. His death shapes our understanding of him not only by lending to our perception of his music an aura of regret over a compositional trajectory cut short. It also represents, according to a certain cruel http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png 19th-Century Music University of California Press

Chopin's March, Chopin's Death

19th-Century Music , Volume 25 (1) – Jul 1, 2001

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Publisher
University of California Press
Copyright
Copyright © by the University of California Press
Subject
Research Article
ISSN
0148-2076
eISSN
1533-8606
DOI
10.1525/ncm.2001.25.1.3
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

JEFFREY KALLBERG Chopin’s March Chopin’s Death Chopin’s March, Chopin’s Death JEFFREY KALLBERG Perhaps we should demur at the prospect of elaborate commemorations of a composer’s death. The logic behind these tributes is generally dubious. Rather than arising from any set of inherent meanings, celebrations of the anniversaries of a composer’s demise seem instead provoked by more-or-less mercenary market forces—promoters seeking ways to sell more recordings and tickets, scholars and musicians enhancing their professional pro les through the vehicle of the object of their veneration. Scratch below the surface of almost all remembrances of composers’ deaths, and the principal sentiment lurking there often resembles “any excuse for a party.” But the recently completed commemorations of the 150th anniversary of Chopin’s death arguably made as much sense as remembrances of his birth. Chopin’s tragically early passing looms large in our basic image of the composer. Only his Polish origins have played as signi cant a role in coloring his reception from 1849 to the present. His death shapes our understanding of him not only by lending to our perception of his music an aura of regret over a compositional trajectory cut short. It also represents, according to a certain cruel

Journal

19th-Century MusicUniversity of California Press

Published: Jul 1, 2001

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