It was difficult to decide what to choose for the listening assignment for this week from the works of Frederic Chopin (1810-1849) because nearly everything he wrote is fantastic!  Chopin is the quintessential Romantic composer whose lyricism and innovative harmonies added tremendously to the piano literature and any serious pianist has spent significant time with his music.

Though Chopin’s life was cut short by illness, he managed to create an impressive amount of music nearly all of which was written for the piano.  He wrote for piano:

  • 24 Preludes
  • 24 Etudes
  • 20 Nocturnes
  • 4 Ballades
  • 4 Scheros
  • 4 Impromptus
  • 9 Polonaises
  • 11 Waltzes
  • 43 Mazurkas
  • 3 Sonatas
  • Berceuse
  • Barcarolle
  • 3 Ecossaises
  • 2 Piano Concertos

The Mazurkas especially capture the originality and genius of Chopin.  The Mazurka is a polish dance in triple meter and can vary from very fast to slow and plaintive.  The one I’ve selected for this week has a beautiful and haunting melody played by one of the greatest pianist of the twentieth century- Vladimir Horowitz

Mazurka in a minor Op. 17 No.4

The next selection is from the Etudes Op. 10 No. 5 played by a remarkable young pianist, Aimi Kobayashi