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awEverybody knows the music of Frederic Chopin, the fellow who ushered in the romantic piano era. But who knew he wrote songs, too? Few people areare Chopin composed a collection of songs that comprise his Opus 74, mournfully dedicating seven of them to his first love, Maria Wodzinska, whose mother forbade their marriage due to his ill health. Set to the texts of romantic poets Stefan Witwicki, Józef Zaleski and Adam Mickiewicz, these works are small gems of passion and wistfulness centering around the popular themes of the times -- love and nature -- and utilizing familiar Chopinesque forms like the mazurka and nocturne. This week, we have the rare opportunity to hear a selection of these charming songs, performed by two top artists: pianist Emanuel Ax and soprano Dawn Upshaw, as part of the Los Angeles Philharmonic's Colburn Celebrity Series . Also on the program: a selection of Chopin mazurkas and nocturnes, Stephen Prutsman's Piano Lessons and art songs by another master of the romantic repertoire, Robert Schumann, including the famous "Widmung" ("Dedication"), part of a song cycle, which, like Chopin, he composed for his great love, Clara.
Tue., March 23, 8 p.m., 2010

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