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Chopin’s Works

Chopin composed chiefly for the piano. Therefore, the majority of his works are for piano solo. A few exceptions include the piano concerti and the Andante spianato et Grande Polonaise in E-flat major (Op. 22), for which he composed orchestral accompaniments. In these cases, the piano is still the star, but its music is introduced, supported and concluded with help from the orchestra.

Chopin composed music from a variety of types. Some of his works are love songs (ballades), while others are night songs (nocturnes). Others are Polish dances (polonaises and mazurkas), while others follow more traditional structures (sonatas, scherzi and concerti) with a romantic touch. The majority of his music is discussed on this site. In order to find a specific piece, select a category below or use the search field in the header.

The beauties of music, when properly brought out, appeal just as spontaneously as the beauties of a garden. The uncultured mind appreciates them immediately and indiscriminately, the cultured mind appreciates them spontaneously and discriminately, yet the productive ability in both cases may be equally lacking. Thus it is that Chopin suffers at the hands of the thousands of pianists who attempt to play him, for, while they can appreciate his beauties when they are shown to them by others, they do not possess the ability to bring them out themselves. Indeed, Chopin is one of the most difficult composers to play well, and the artiste who attempts him must have a heart by nature, a brain by study, and technique by constant practice. His works contain countless beauties, but these must be read not only upon the music but between the lines, for to properly interpret the poetry and emotionalism of the composer it is necessary to mentally create the same atmosphere as that in which he lived and moved and had his being. For Chopin came into existence at a time of great political restlessness among his countrymen the Poles, and the surrounding influences of his time were reflected to an extraordinary extent in all his works. The very variety of his compositions speaks of his birth, for the characteristics of the Pole are a strange intermingling of gaiety and sadness, and sudden changes from triumph to dejection, caused by his utter inability to hold up his head in face of opposing circumstance. Thus Chopin’s music was impregnated with subtle romance, exuberant fancy, inconsequent gaiety, triumphant grandeur, and utter disconsolateness. In more than one of his compositions, these various moods succeed one another in quick succession, until the music reflects, like a mirror, the emotions that stirred the composer’s soul.
- Vladimir de Pachmann

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This page was last updated on 2007-08-13.