Charles Rosen - Style Quotes
5 Sourced Quotes
The musical language which made the classical style possible is that of tonality, which was not a massive, immobile system but a living, gradually changing language from its beginning. It had reached a new and important turning point just before the style of Haydn and Mozart took shape.
Some of the Etudes in the first set, opus 10, were written by the time Chopin was twenty. It is with these pieces that Chopin's style was fully revealed in all its power and subtlety. Later works are sometimes more ambitious and, in a few cases, more audacious, but there were no radical changes of style, nothing to compare to the later revolutions we find in the careers of Haydn and Beethoven, or even in the shorter lives of Mozart and Schubert. Chopin's mastery was proven with the twelve Etudes of opus 10.
There is a paradox at the heart of Chopin's style, in its unlikely combination of a rich chromatic web of polyphony, based on a profound experience of J. S. Bach, with a sense of melody and a way of sustaining the melodic line derived directly from Italian opera. The paradox is only apparent, and it is never felt as such when one hears the music. The two influences are perfectly synthesized, and they give each other a new kind of power.