Op. 38 and the Genre Issue
In Paris of the 1820s and ’30s, opera was one of the most influential forms of entertainment and popular art. Chopin, who had loved opera since his youth in Warsaw, was involved with the Parisian opera scene both as a consumer and as an arranger, avidly attending performances of both familiar and new works and publishing pieces based on popular operatic melodies. In addition to knowing the works themselves and such commonplaces of operatic vocabulary as the pastorale and the storm (both of which are found in the Second Ballade, op. 38), Chopin knew the specific operatic ballade genre that had been developing in French opera in the works of such composers as Auber, Boïeldieu, Hérold, and Meyerbeer. Maintaining the traditional narrative associations of the ballade while recasting the genre for this new dramatic context, composers of these pieces developed increasingly subtle strategies for evoking both dramatic tales and the onstage listeners’ reactions to them, for organizing a non‐“developmental” integration of contrasting musical ideas, and for reflecting their increasingly dire dramatic content. All of these were lessons well learned by Chopin and utilized in his Second Ballade.
Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.