Recordings - Chopin

These two Nocturnes were conceived as a pair, were written between 1834 and 1835 and were published in 1836. They are both dedicated to the Countess d'Appony in who's salon Chopin often appeared. Both of these works are described as "miniature ballads" by the American pianist David Dubal. The Nocturne in c sharp minor is in ABACoda form with a tragic and hopeless sentiment and with a menacing, restless and tumultuous middle section. The American music critic, Henry T. Finck (1854-1926) wrote that this work "embodies a greater variety of emotion and more genuine dramatic spirit on four pages than many popular operas on four hundred". The D flat Major Nocturne seamlessly follows beginning on the enharmonic tone, using the same widespread left hand harmonic figure, but bathes the listener in its harmonic and melodic beauty. This Nocturne contains the essence of Chopin's use of fioratura and bel canto melody, vocally inspired from the opera composers of his day.

The Barcarolle is characterized by the lilting rhythm of a Venetian gondolier's stroke, almost invariably in 6/8 time.

This piece was composed between 1845 and 1846, three years before Chopin's death and was included in his last public performance in Paris (1848), perhaps indicating that this was a very special piece to him.