Episode 8: A Tip of the Hat to Bach

Etude in C Major, Op. 10 No. 1

chopin-bach200“Always work on Bach – that will be your best way forward… “ A bit of advice Chopin gave to a student and followed himself.

Fryderyk Chopin studied and loved the music of Johann Sebastian Bach and was inspired to go faster, be louder, and cover more of the keyboard.

Pianist Garrick Ohlsson says that Chopin was ‘opening up the hand’ in his first Etude – not by stretching, but by teaching students to be agile. "People say you have to have an enormous hand to play that, it’s not true. It’s an opening and closing of the hand, but it’s just as much contraction as extension. And if you try to keep your hand rigidly extended, you will not get past the first page of that piece."

As the first pages of their respective collections, Bach’s Prelude number 1 in C from the Well Tempered Clavier, and Chopin’s Number 1 in C from his first set of 12 etudes, set the stage for the pieces that follow – works that still challenge students in technique, offered new ideas about harmony, and show with great beauty just how much can be wrung from a keyboard. - Jeffrey Freymann-Weyr


Radio Chopin Episode 8: A Tip of the Hat to Bach

Etude in C Major, Op. 10 No. 1

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