10 Famous works of Chopin (Żelazowa Wola, Poland March 1 or February 22, 1810-Paris, October 17, 1849)
Frédéric Chopin grew up in a middle class family. At age 7 he published his first composition and began acting a year later giving signs of child prodigy. In 1829 he made a stay in Vienna to be trained to a greater extent, but it was in 1832 when he moved to Paris, where he interacted with high society. Although Chopin had juvenile love affairs and was once engaged, none of his relationships lasted more than a year. In 1838 he began a love story with the French novelist Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin, called George Sand. With the aim of improving the always battered health of the composer, the couple spends the winter on the Spanish island of Mallorca, where Chopin fell ill. In 1839, Sand takes Chopin to Marseille, where he is diagnosed with tuberculosis. After a period of recovery in this city, in May 1839, Chopin and Sand settled down south of Paris at Nohant, Sand’s cottage. The next seven years proved to be the happiest and most productive period of Chopin’s life. The relationship will end in 1848, and after a busy schedule of concerts in the British Isles Chopin will return to Paris to die the following year.
Almost all its production is dedicated to the piano only with a few exceptions.
10 famous works of Chopin
1. Nocturnes, Op. 9
Between 1827 and 1846, Chopin wrote a total of 21 piano pieces under the name of Nocturnes divided into different Opus numbers. In his Opus 9 there are three of the best known. It seems that Chopin was modeled after Jonh Field (1782-1837) considered the creator of the nocturnes, although clearly Chopin developed this idea.
2. Study Op. 10, No. 12 in C minor, “the revolutionary study”.
Chopin’s studies are considered as masterpieces of the technique and are a reference for every pianist. Chopin wrote a total of 27 studies between 1830 and 1840. They are distributed in opus 10, 25 and three separate studies. Specifically his study No. 12 of his Op. 10, dedicated to Liszt like the others of this opus, takes its name from the revolution of the cadets in Poland against the Russian ruling in 1831.
3. Prelude, Op. 28, No. 15. “The drop of Rain”.
Chopin wrote 24 preludes within his opus 28. He did like his predecessors, in different tonalities as in the best-known case of Johann Sebastian Bach preludes and fugues. They are composed between 1836 and 1839 part of them while Chopin and George Sand lived on the island of Mallorca. It is possibly the number 15 the best known, a work that pays homage to loneliness, intimacy and reflection with oneself.
4. Concerto for Piano No. 2 in F minor, Op. 21
Chopin wrote two concerts for piano and orchestra, Op. 11 and Op. 21. This concert was premiered in 1830, when the composer was 20 years old and is dedicated to Countess Delphine Potocka.
It is divided into the Maestoso, Larghetto and Allegro Vivace movements.
5. Ballad for piano No. 1, in G minor op. 23.
Chopin wrote four ballads between the years 1831 and 1842, which are reference works in the music of the Polish composer. The most famous one is possibly the first, written in 1831, when the composer was really devastated by his stay in Vienna while his family and compatriots fought against the Russian hegemony in his country. The second one is dedicated to the composer Robert Schumann.
6. Sonata for cello in G minor, Op. 65.
Written in 1846, it is an anecdotal work by the composer since almost all of his production is written for piano, which is why it may be turned into a work of reference by the composer for the violoncello performers. It was the last work published during the composer’s lifetime and was dedicated to Auguste Franchomme and performed with him in Paris in 1848.
7. Sonata for piano No. 3 in B minor, Op. 58
Chopin wrote three sonatas for piano of which two were published while he still alive. The three are considered the most difficult works of the composer along with Polonaise-Fantaisia, Op. 61 and his Allegro de Concerto, Op. 46. He composed his third sonata in 1844 and is dedicated to Countess Emilie de Perthuis.
8. Polonaise in A flat major, Op. 53, “The Heroic Polonaise”.
Composed in 1842, when Chopin had great health problems and usually being in bed with fevers and vomiting. It is a work of praise to his land, although it does not follow the classic polonaise form.
9. Vals in D flat major, Op. 64, No. 1, “The waltz of the minute”.
It seems that Chopin could compose around 36 waltzes, concert pieces not to be danced. He began to compose them at the age of 14 and he was doing it during all his life. The best known is the waltz of the minute, although its interpretation usually lasts one minute forty seconds seems that the term minute does not refer to the duration of the piece.
10. Fantasy-Impromptu op. posth 66
Composed in 1835 Chopin did not want this work to come to light because he said it was very similar to Beethoven’s Claro de Luna, and to avoid the criticism that this could generate he told his friend Julian Fontana to burn it, but fortunately this is not what he did and after dying Chopin published it.