Frederick Chopin (1810-1849)

2011 Program –
Chopin dedicated most of his musical creativity to compositions for the piano, and the creation of the 21 Nocturnes spanned most of his creative life.  These two nocturnes were written around the time of Chopin’s move to Paris in 1831.  The F major nocturne is straight forward in simple ABA form.  It is similar to the Bb major nocturne in its stormy driven B section.

The Bb nocturne, on the other hand, is significantly more complex.  In the first A section, you will find two distinct themes and a chorus.  Each of the two distinct themes repeats twice with the chorus following each statement.  Note that each statement is altered with varied embellishments, some of which are quite lengthy.  The B section is driven, with continually active left hand triplets marked Agitato.  This nocturne has elements of minuet and trio, and of rondo form.  There are no less than five statements of its chorus.

The Opus 49 fantasy begins its life in f minor and ends its journey in Ab, the relative major.  If there is a “chorus”, it is a march, though the march sometimes harbors anticipation, is sometimes subdued, and it even changes mood and becomes a chorale.  In its last iteration, it becomes a declaratory statement.  If you think of the fantasy in sonata-allegro terms the first theme is a sweeping lyric statement in thirds and sixths, and the second is a march.  The opening march is an introduction. It is a fanciful work and modulates by fourths and fifths, but also by thirds and through chromaticism.