Today’s post features a famous waltz by famous Romantic era composer Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849).
A child prodigy, Polish pianist composer Chopin wrote primarily for solo piano. He spent his life teaching, composing, and performing for adoring crowds, and his unique style pushed the boundaries of expression and emotion in music. Read more about him here.
*Side note: Chopin popularized the nocturne! To listen to some of his nocturnes, read this post here.
Waltz in C-sharp minor
Chopin composed Op. 64 No. 2 in 1847. The opening theme portrays longing as it slips smoothly through different harmonies, using rhythms inspired by Polish dance music. The waltz then glides into a subtly explosive section, where the notes run and the harmonies bounce (literally – the accompaniment in the left hand is all over the place in this section). The middle theme – also known as a trio – is in the contrasting key of D-flat major, enharmonic to C-sharp minor (enharmonic means that two notes are the same – C sharp and D flat – it’s just notated differently). This joyful section plays on ideas from the opening theme while taking a rest from the dramatic previous section.
Thank you, Chopin, for writing such a beautiful waltz of love and heartbreak, of intimacy and promise.
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