Frédéric Chopin (Polish: Fryderyk [Franciszek] Chopin, March 1, 1810 – October 17, 1849) was a Polish virtuoso pianist and piano composer of the Romantic period. He is widely regarded as the greatest Polish composer, and one of the most influential composers for piano in the 19th century.Chopin's extant compositions all include the piano, predominantly alone or as a solo instrument among others. Though his music is technically demanding, its style emphasizes nuance and expressive depth rather than technical virtuosity. Chopin invented new musical forms such as the ballade, and made major innovations in existing forms such as the piano sonata, waltz, nocturne, étude, impromptu, and prelude. His works are mainstays of Romanticism in 19th-century classical music. His mazurkas and polonaises remain the cornerstone of Polish national classical music.
The Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor, Op. 11 was composed in 1830. It was first performed on October 11, 1830, in Warsaw, with the composer as soloist during one of Chopin's "farewell" concerts before leaving Poland. It was the first of his two piano concertos to be published, and was therefore given the designation as Piano Concerto "No. 1" at the time of publication, even though it was actually written immediately after what was later published as Piano Concerto No. 2.
It contains the three movements typical of instrumental concertos of the period:
Classical critics usually fall in to one of two schools of thought concerning the piece. The first of these says that given that Chopin was a composer for the piano first and foremost; the orchestral part of this piece acts more as a vehicle for the pianist, with the individual instrumental parts being uninteresting to perform. The second suggests that the orchestral backing is carefully and deliberately written to fit in with the sound of the piano, and that the simplicity of arrangement is in deliberate contrast to the complexity of the harmony.
Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor, Op. 21, was composed in 1830, before he had finished his formal education — he was around 20 years old. It was first performed on March 17, 1830, in Warsaw, Poland, with the composer as soloist. It was the second of his piano concertos to be published (after the Piano Concerto No. 1), and so was designated as "No. 2," although it was written first.
It is considered to be one of the most beautiful piano concertos, containing virtuosic arpeggios and themes from various nocturnes.
The work contains the three movements typical of instrumental concertos of the period:
3. Allegro vivace
In the finale, the violins are at one point instructed to play col legno (with the wood of the bow). The main theme of the final movement, as introduced by the piano, is classic Chopin - a delicate and yearningly poignant melody reminiscent of some of his mazurkas.
*Arie van Beek,conductor
*Rotterdam Young Philharmonic