Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Leikin, Anatole. "Chopin's A-Minor Prelude and Its Symbolic Language." International Journal of Musicology 6 (1997): 149-62.

Even though Chopin denounced and laughed at any attempts to relate his works to programmatic narratives, his notion of absolute music is betrayed by borrowed melodies and topical gestures that may be found in his works. The Prelude in A Minor, Op. 28, No 2, is an ideal subject for hermeneutic or semiotic interpretation due to its juxtaposition of funereal and religious elements. The musical texture is permeated with references to the Dies Irae chant. Chorale and funeral march topics also appear in the score. The structural troping of these elements leads one to believe that death was on the mind of the composer. The sharp decline in Chopin's health while composing these preludes gives further credence to a programmatic interpretation. Interestingly, Alexander Scriabin borrowed elements from this work for his second Prelude of Op. 74, which also alludes to his own failing health.

Works: Chopin: Prelude in A Minor, Op. 28, No. 2 (149-59); Scriabin: Prelude, Op. 74, No. 2 (159-62).

Sources: Dies Irae (149-62); Chopin: Prelude in A Minor, Op. 28, No. 2 (159-62).

Index Classifications: 1800s, 1900s

Contributed by: Randy Goldberg

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