the Chopin Scherzi‏

by richibi

 
“scherzo” is Italian for “joke”, it’s also a specific
musical mode, quick and delightful, usually
the third movement in a larger piece – sonata,
symphony, concerto – as a contrast to the
preceding adagio, or slower, more melancholic
tonal statement  
 
once again Chopin extracts the mode from the
larger composition, where it had sat as a merely
supportive entity, thereby giving it its own
distinction, having achieved the transcendental
ability to turn secondary material into resplendent
and incontrovertible gold   
 
 
to tell the truth I don’t much get the humour
either, what joke do these scherzi tell, though
I intuit a kind of slapstick, initial grunts for
instance, like engines gunning, before
undertaking a more ethereal flight in the 
second scherzo, the stardust that suddenly falls
on the more languid, forlorn notes, in the third
– contrasts that are, were, subversive surely
then, idiosyncratic, potentially aesthetically
controversial
 
or, is this music, people might’ve wondered 
 
except that Chopin invariably enchants, doubtless
did also then  
 
and turned the rules, as artist do, upside down  
 
maybe that’s the joke, and Chopin was already
onto it 
 
music, he meant, is in the eye of the beholder,
there is no explicit, dare I say Platonic, or
absolute, standard, music is fraught with 
merely imagination, rules do not apply 
 
perhaps his enduring fame rests on our own
complicity with this message, our lives are
the expression of the vividness, indeed
stardust, of, to a sublime degree, our dreams
 
aspiration, in other words, is destiny     
 
who’d a thunk it
 
 
Richard 
 
 
 
 
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