Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Petty, Wayne C. "Chopin and the Ghost of Beethoven," 19th-Century Music 22 (Spring 1999): 281-99.

Beethoven's influence on Chopin has been scarcely noted, partly due to the paucity of available data on Chopin's acquaintance with Beethoven. Yet Beethoven's presence is patent in Chopin's Piano Sonata in B flat Minor, Op. 35 (1839), where he bids Beethoven farewell; it is a rite of separation in which Chopin finds his own voice. The opening of the first movement refers to the opening of Beethoven's Piano Sonata in C Minor, Op. 111, but an interrupted cadence signals a sharp departure from it. That cadence has its closure in the funeral march that alludes to the funeral march of Beethoven's Piano Sonata in A flat Major, Op. 26, and signals the end of Beethoven's presence in the sonata. From that moment on, in the contrasting, nocturnal, trio section, Chopin affirms his own voice. Whereas the first three movements project a human struggle to achieve individuality, the inventive finale takes an ironic stance to that idea.

Works: Chopin: Piano Sonata in B flat Minor, Op. 35 (283-99).

Sources: Beethoven: Piano Sonata in A flat Major, Op. 26 (285, 288-89, 294, 298), Piano Sonata in C Minor, Op. 111 (289-90, 298).

Index Classifications: 1800s

Contributed by: Tamara Balter

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