Fryderyk Chopin
Published June 28, 2019
63 min
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    Donald Macleod explores “the poet of the piano”, Fryderyk Chopin. Donald starts this week’s episode with a look at how Chopin’s Polish heritage shaped his music. Although he left the country at the age of 20, dance forms like the polonaise and mazurka left a strong mark on his writing. Next, we catch fleeting glimpses of the composer through his letters, and his relationship with his instrument, the piano. Chopin’s reticence to perform made his rare appearances extremely lucrative, but he much preferred the more intimate and sociable surroundings of the salon, where his trademark light touch could be appreciated to the full. We hear about Chopin through the eyes of his most illustrious contemporaries – his lover George Sand, and fellow composers Franz Liszt and Robert Schumann. To end, stories of the composer’s ever-feeble health – Berlioz is supposed to have said Chopin was “dying all his life” – which makes the scale of his achievement all the more heroic. Music featured: ‘Życzenie’ (The maiden’s wish), Op 74 No 1 Piano Concerto No 2 in F minor, Op 21 (3rd mvt, Allegro vivace) 4 Mazurkas, Op 17 Polonaise No 5 in C minor, Op 40 No 2 Polonaise No 6 in A flat, Op 53 (‘Heroic’) Ballade No 4 in F minor, Op 52 2 Mazurkas (Mazurka in G; Mazurka in B flat) Piano Concerto No 1 in E minor, Op 11 (2nd mvt, Romance—Larghetto) Preludes, Op 28 3 Mazurkas, Op 50 (No 1 in G; No 2 in A flat; No 3 in C sharp minor) 2 Nocturnes, Op 55 (No 1 in F minor; No 2 in E flat) Etude in A flat, Op 25 No 1 (‘Aeolian Harp’) ‘Krakowiak’: Grand Concert Rondo in F, Op 14 Mazurka in B minor, Op 33 No 4 Andante spianato, Op 22 No 1 Impromptu No 3 in G flat, Op 51 Nocturne in F sharp minor, Op 48 No 2 Barcarolle, Op 60 Etude in C, Op 10 No 1 Ballade No 2 in F, Op 38 Variations in B flat major on ‘La ci darem la mano’, from Mozart's opera Don Giovanni, Op 2 Scherzo No 4 in E, Op 54 Sonata in G minor for piano and cello, Op 65 (2nd and 3rd movements) Mazurka in G minor, Op 67 No 2 2 Nocturnes, Op 27 (No 1 in C sharp minor, Larghetto; No 2 in D flat, Lento sostento) Scherzo No 3 in C sharp minor, Op 39 Ballade No 3 in A flat, Op 47 Sonata No 3 in B minor, Op 58 (3rd movement, Largo) Waltz in E flat, Op 18 (‘Grande valse brillante’) Berceuse, Op 57 Presented by Donald Macleod Produced by Chris Barstow for BBC Wales For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Fryderyk Chopin And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here:
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