Monday, October 24, 2011

Chopin - Scherzo No. 2 In B-flat Minor

Frederic Chopin was a virtuoso of the instrument, and the vast majority of his compositions were for the piano. He brought the Mazurka, the national dance of Poland, into the concert hall and helped establish the form of the piano Nocturne.

Chopin has been called the poet of the piano, and many consider him to be the greatest of all the composers for the instrument.  He brought to his piano works a type of technical quality that is by no means easy, but at the same time it is not an empty display of rapid finger work. Everything in Chopin comes from the heart, from emotion, and serves musical expression.

Scherzo is an Italian word that means 'joke', but the Scherzo No. 2 In B-flat Minor is hardly a laughing matter.  There is something ominous from the very beginning of the piece. One of Chopin's students said of the opening of the Scherzo,  "For Chopin it was never questioning enough, never soft enough, never vaulted enough. It must be a charnel-house."  When the Scherzo comes to a thundering close in D flat Major some nine-odd minutes later,  (some say a triumphant close) in the same rhythm as the opening, the 'bad' joke has been transformed.

Chopin's Scherzo No. 2 in B flat minor, Opus 31:

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