The Chamber Music Network
The Chopin ballade score. Photo: PAP/Jakub Kamiński

Hand-written Chopin Score Bought by Warsaw Museum

The Fryderyk Chopin Museum in Warsaw has bought a hand-written score of a piano Ballade by the composer. The score was purchased from a private collector at an auction in London in November 2017. It was officially delivered to the museum’s authorities on Wednesday. 

The partial score for the Ballade no. 1 in G Minor Op. 23 is the only original score for a Chopin Ballade in Poland. “Chopin is one of the most important figures in our culture”, Poland’s Culture Minister Piotr Gliński said.  Artur Szlener, the head of the Fryderyk Chopin Museum in Warsaw, said that such scores are “invaluable treasures of culture and sources of knowledge about the composer and his work.” “Some of the information from a score cannot be retrieved from copies,” he added. 

Chopin wrote his Ballade no. 1 in G minor in 1831. During those years he had taken residence in Vienna, and as the war between his native land and the Russian Empire grew longer so did his music become increasingly dramatic, a reflection of his feelings of loneliness and alienation. The Ballade no. 1 wasn't published until Chopin moved to Paris, where he dedicated it to Baron Nathaniel von Stockhausen. Chopin may be said to be the creator of the Ballade as a distinct genre, inspiring many musicians (such as Liszt and Brahms) to write their own Ballades. Though the pieces seem to be entirely different between them, analysts have shown that the Ballades share a number of traits, like a mirror re-exposition (where the order of the first and second themes are inverted), and the so called ballade meter (a 6/8 or 6/4 meter). The Ballade no. 1 in G minor is one of the more popular Chopin pieces, being prominently featured in the 2002 Roman Polanski film The Pianist. (Source: MUSOPEN.)