Two recent publications about Chopin.

This note is not meant to be a review, as we do not have the time. However, we would like to inform the visitors of our site about two recent Chopin publications, which are poles apart.

The first one:

Uta Goebl-Streicher, Frédéric Chopin. Einblicke in Unterricht und Umfeld. Die Briefe seiner Liebelingsschülerin Friederike Müller, Paris 1839-1845, München-Salzburg (Musikverlag Katzbichler) 2018, pp. 1÷640.

As the title suggests, it is a collection (in a diplomatic edition) of letters written almost weekly by Friederike Müller, who had come to Paris—accompanied by her aunt Wilhelmine (Mina)—to perfect her piano playing, and sent to her aunts who had remained in Vienna. Nothing like it had ever been published before. It is the most comprehensive and exciting account of Chopin's character, his playing, his teaching methods, his thoughts, his works and his health. In addition, such a collection contains a great deal of information about numerous people and events, which makes it possible to complete the composer's biography of those years.

It is the most important publication of its kind.

The second one:

Bertrand Jaeger, L'œvre de Frédéric Chopin. Manuscrits - Partitions annotées - Bibliographies, Bern (Peter Lang) 2020, pp. 1÷903.

It is a large volume, full of things already known, overflowing with a torrent of bibliography useless from a practical point of view, muddled despite the apparently neat subdivision of the subject, devoid of adequate indexes—the author claims “they would not be useful”!—and, above all, with serious omissions, not for ignorance, but rather by precise choice. On the other hand, we know very well how Egyptologists (the author is an Egyptologist) are inclined to conceal the truth.

It is a typical product of modern culture as already defined on another page. What is certain is that students will not derive any practical benefit from such an expensive book, whose only purpose seems to be that of mutual flattery among people coming from the same fold.

[December 20, 2020]

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