‘Could it Be Magic’, was the name of the pop song written by composer and singer Barry Manilow. It was magic, as it’s opening was taken directly from one of my favorite Romantic Era composers, especially for piano music, Frederic Chopin.
Frederic Chopin, the Polish composer and virtuoso pianist, was the quintessential Romantic composer. There was so much beautiful piano music from Frederic Chopin in his too brief life, that I call him Mr. Piano. We thank God for the time he did grant us with this wonderful composer of such beautiful romantic piano music.
Manilow incorporates Chopin’s short Prelude #20 in C-minor in my favorite piece by the legendary pop star. In showing how Manilow uses Chopin’s theme, I am in no way denigrating Manilow for using it.
Barry Manilow was doing the same thing as classical music composers whenever they ‘borrowed’ themes from their fellow masters. They did this as a sign of compliment and respect for those composers.
Also, many times the great composers, when liking one of their own themes or musical ideas very much, would often use that same theme in more than one piece they composed.
So, in the same way as I view classical composers borrowing and not stealing musical ideas, I see Manilow as not stealing from Chopin, but borrowing his theme, as a way to honor and show admiration to the great Frederic Chopin.
Of course, Manilow borrows more than just the theme, he literally borrows the whole short piece [with the beginning at the beginning of his song and the ending at the close of his song]. It is truly magic-Chopin magic, that is!
So, please turn up the volume and listen to Chopin, Mr. Piano’s prelude in C-minor, and then listen to it again in Barry Manilow’s, “Could It Be Magic”.
Chopin: Op.28, No. 20 Prelude in C minor:
Barry Manilow: “Could It Be Magic”: