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Smack-dab in the middle of Chopin’s Op. 25 Etudes lies this unique and memorable piece that is unlike any other Chopin creation. And one that has generated a considerable amount of ink over the decades.

Sometimes it’s called the “‘cello Etude,” due to the fact that the prominent melody is in the left hand, approximating the range of a cello. Others have called it “A Duet between a He and a She.” Or perhaps you prefer “Morbidly Elegaic?” Ballade-like? A Missing Nocturne?

Another school of thought says plainly: It’s an Etude. It’s supposed to help you with perfecting you piano technique. And the technique here is an exquisitely difficult phrasing and balance question – making the left hand carry the melody without being overpowered by the right — when the natural tendency is to go the other way.

Oh, and just to mess you up a little further, the left and right hand are playing quite independent musical lines that need to coincide at key moments.

So, for the final word, let’s transport you back to G.C. Ashton Jonson, author of the 1905 tome A Handbook to Chopin’s Works: (For the Use of Concert-Goers, Pianists, and Pianola Players):

Etude in C-sharp Op. 25 No. 7

Click on the piano to hear Chopin Project Artistic Director Arthur Greene perform Chopin’s unique Etude in C-sharp Minor, Op. 25, No. 7.

Read the Wikipedia entry here.

Read the Chopinmusic.net entry here.

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Chopin Nocturnes Op. 48 Title page“Magnificent in its breadth, it profound expression, and its tremendous sonority.”   Dr. Frank Cooper‘s summation of this Chopin Nocturne, composed in 1841, just about says it all. But if you want to know more, click here. Or else check out the marvelous collection of Chopin early editions at the University of Chicago library.

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Click on the piano to hear pianist Polina Khatsko play this magnificent Nocturne in C minor, Op. 48, No. 1 in a Chopin Project live performance at the University of Michigan’s Britton Recital Hall.

Want to play it yourself? Get the music here at the Sheet Music Archive.

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Dmitri Vorobiev Dmitri Vorobiev of the Chopin Project performs the Nocturne in B, Op. 62, No. 1. To hear it, Click on the piano! Piano Player Icon

Here’s how it’s described in the 1905 book A Handbook to Chopin’s Works, by George C. Ashton Johnson:

You can read the entire book on Google Docs here.

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Arthur Greene playsAs Chopin Project Artistic Director Arthur Greene heads off to Novi Sad, Serbia, to judge and perform in the Isidor Bajic Memorial Competition, he leaves us a taste of his masterful Chopin interpretation with this performance of the Mazurka in C-sharp minor, Op. 6, No. 2.
Click on the Piano Piano Player Icon to hear the Mazurka with its mysterious opening, “a song so sad, heartfelt, naive, diversified and caressing.”
Mazurkas, Op. 6Take a look at this fascinating University of Chicago site with digital images of Historic Scores of the Op. 6 Mazurkas, dating from 1832-1850.

Love the Chopin Mazurkas? Read a fuller description of them on the Pianosociety.com website…

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Chopin’s third waltz has been called a “piece full of melancholy, gloom and grief, expressed in mournful simplicity.”

Though, according to the Vancouver Chopin Society,

The composer Stephen Heller related that Chopin called this slow (Lento) waltz his favorite. When Heller told the Pole that he, too, loved it best, Chopin immediately invited him for lunch at a fashionable cafe. Frederick Niecks wrote of this piece, “The composer evidently found pleasure in giving way to this delicious languor, in indulging in these melancholy thoughts full of sweetest, tenderest loving and longing.”

Polina KhatskoPolina Khatsko of the Chopin Project performs the Waltz in A minor, Op. 34, No. 2. To hear it, Click on the piano!

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For information on obtaining the sheet music to the Waltz from the Musicroom,

Click on the cover page!

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Olga KleiakinaToday the Chopin Project spotlight falls on Russian-born Michigan pianist Olga Kleiankina, performing the First Impromptu (in A-flat, Op. 29, No. 1) by Chopin. By its very title “Impromptu” is supposed to mean just that — just a perky, playful little ditty that Fryderyk would dash off at the keyboard without a lot of forethought or consideration. The reality is, of course, anything but that! Chopin’s Impromptus are eternally popular, and devilishly difficult to pull off. Olga Kleiankina adds, “I felt a lot of pressure preparing for these concerts and was more than a little anxious. But the audiences were very warm, and it turned out to be such a pleasure. Even though I didn’t happen to play any major works, (many of them were almost unknown, in fact!), I came to love all my pieces, and I felt the audience did too. Even though they were miniatures, I felt that each one was perfectly organized from the very inside – in a way, a microcosmos….part of the transcendental world of Chopin’s imagination.”
Piano Player IconCLICK ON THE PIANO to hear to Olga Kleiankina play Chopin’s Impromptu in A-flat, Op. 29, No. 1. before an appreciative Ann Arbor audience.
Feeling ambitious? Download the sheet music here from pianosociety.com.
And read more about the Impromptus on Chopinmusic.net

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Paganini ChopinThis rare bit of Chopiniana was supposedly written after violin virtuoso Niccolo Paganini came through Warsaw in the summer of 1829, a concert we know that Chopin attended. A month later he graduated from the Higher School of Music in Warsaw, where a teacher wrote, “Chopin, Fryderyk: third-year student, amazing capabilities, musical genius.”

 
   

Dmitri Vorobiev

Piano Player IconCLICK ON THE PIANO to hear Dmitri Vorobiev perform Chopin’s Variations in A Major, “Souvenir de Paganini” KK 1203

Find the sheet music at Pianopedia

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