8 most famous works of Fryderyk Chopin

Review of the best according to the editorial board. On the selection criteria. This material is subjective, does not constitute advertising and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.

'Mysterious, devilish … Chopin', 'bard … the soul of the piano' – such was, in the opinion of his contemporaries, the Polish genius of piano music, who knew how to create incredibly harmonious, quivering compositions that mesmerized from the first notes. Chopin's art is a romantic ideal and an audacious pursuit of it. His legacy became an inspiration for many composers of the generations following Chopin – Liszt, Debussy, etc. We bring to your attention the top-8 unique works recognized during the composer's lifetime.

Unique genius of romanticism: top 8 most famous works of Chopin

Nomination a place Composition rating
Review of the most famous works of Chopin 8 Sonata No. 2, b-minor, op. 35, 1839 4.3
7 Nocturne No. 2, Es-major, op. 9, ('Spring Rhapsody'), 1830 4.4
6 Barcarole, fis-dur, op. 60, 1846 4.5
5 'Fantasy' in f-moll, op. 49, 1840-1841 4.6
4 Revolutionary sketch No. 12, c-moll, op. 12, 1831 4.7
3 Prelude No. 7, c-dur,? year 4.8
2 Concerto for piano and orchestra No. 2, f-moll, op. 21, 1830 (1836) 4.9
1 Waltz No. 7, cis-moll, op. 64, 1847 5.0

Sonata No. 2, b-minor, op. 35, 1839

Rating: 4.3

The composer worked on this epoch-making work during the heyday of his work. The sonata can hardly be called the fruit of an incredible revelation: it is the result of incessant searches, a long career of a genius musician. In terms of its scope, concept and emotional impact, Chopin's 2nd Sonata is one of the most significant phenomena in symphonic music.

The greatness of this work is created by the dramatic fate of the author himself, whose life, by its tragedy, is intertwined with the suffering of the entire Polish people. The theme of the composer's suffering in the homeland, intertwined with his own feelings and isolation from national roots, is expressed with incredible drama, surprisingly strong even for Chopin.

The composition vividly shows the difficult transition from personal psychological drama to nationwide grief. That is why the famous funeral march (the third movement of the sonata), created one of the first in this work, harmoniously blended into the general theme. Moreover, this march can be called the real center of the composition, its axis. The dark force and incredible sad lyricism of the 'one of a kind march' could only have been inspired by large-scale sad events.

The images of death and doom that permeate the last two parts are preceded by global inner experiences revealed in the first parts. This is a dramatic struggle for life, the inability to come to terms with reality, the search for a way out. But after the third movement of the sonata, there is no return to life: after that, the dramatic completion of the work takes place – the darkest one. Rubinstein saw in him 'an image of the wind … rushing … over the graves of heroes who died unknown in battle'.

Nocturne No. 2, Es-major, op. 9, ('Spring Rhapsody'), 1830

Rating: 4.4

Speaking of Chopin's nocturnes, one should immediately say that they are strikingly different from works of a similar genre created by most other composers. This is a clear expression of “a calm nature and a warring humanity.” In the nocturnes of the Polish genius, one can feel the gentle murmur of the night, a light interweaving of sad thoughts or spiritual harmony with the surrounding world.

'Nocturne No. 2' is a real ode to the spring awakening of nature, complete pacification, contemplation combined with a slight shade of sadness. Although Chopin created many workshops of nocturnes, this one has become one of the most recognizable and popular in the world. His melody is dominated by the feeling of a sweet contemplation of nature and the almost serenaded, incredible soloing of the main voice is vividly manifested.

The accompaniment has a wide swing and freedom of voice. The attentive listener may notice the unusual 'clash' of harmonies, the masterful use of 'intratonal' modulations.

Nocturne contains a lot of interesting moments. Here, the detailed ornament is excellently developed, and one feels not the chaos inherent in the early works of the Polish genius, but the sheer skill, inner simplicity under the apparent confusion and complexity.

Barcarole, fis-dur, op. 60, 1846

Rating: 4.5

An incredibly solid opus and one of the composer's finest inspirations. Karl Tauzig, a Polish composer and one of the greatest pianists of the 19th century, believed (and was not the only one in his opinion) that Barcarolle is the sonic embodiment of a love scene: secret, intimate, with whispers, kisses and the quiet splash of water.

Nowhere did Chopin manage to create such a perfect, harmonious combination of landscape and human experiences as in this work. A feeling of love blossoming in the bosom of nature – this delighted and inspired the great composer. He managed to convey his admiration in the Barcarole with incredible strength and liveliness.

The composition can be safely considered the pinnacle of the development of the nocturne genre in Chopin's work. The barcarole is dominated by a dreamy mood, restraint, smoothly turning into an enthusiastic lyrical feeling. Originally the barcarole genre was a song of Italian gondoliers, and Chopin was not the only composer who was inspired to create excellent works.

Magnificent Italy! Chopin in those years could only dream of her: the illness had already considerably undermined his strength, and his love affair promised an inevitable sad end. The composer masterfully conveyed in the barcarole the amazing ardor of feelings, warmth and charm of this magnificent country.

'Fantasy' in f-moll, op. 49, 1840-1841

Rating: 4.6

The work is considered the most outstanding among the large single-movement works of the Polish composer. It occupies a prominent place in the history of the musical genre itself. This ingenious creation was created in the early period of the formation of independent instrumental music. It is noteworthy that in different historical eras, fantasy took somewhat different forms, reflecting to a certain extent the style of that time.

So, in Mozart it is presented in the form of a free outpouring – the antipode of the sonata, in Schubert it reflects the fusion of sonata and variable sounding, the result of which was romantic symphonic poems. Chopin's fantasy is a romantic ballad of truly grandiose scope.

For the composer, it was this work that was of great importance: this can be understood by how often its features appeared in many of the master's creations, created in completely different genres. But nowhere else has the ballad style shown itself so brightly as in 'Fantasy' f-moll. Her episodes are so contrasting, rich, expressive.

The fantasy is built incredibly symmetrically, all of its parts are perfectly balanced. The work belongs to the 'urbanistic' works of the author: here you can clearly see the sounds of battle, human stomping, marches, etc. Chopin's creation is very reminiscent of an independent epic poem.

Fantasy is literally imbued with greatness and, at the same time, romantic impulses, trepidation and detachment, violent protests and pacifying motives. The totality of the many emotional states of the work makes it both a patriotic epic and a romantic ballad.

Revolutionary sketch No. 12, c-moll, op. 12, 1831

Rating: 4.7

Immediately after receiving news of the fall of Warsaw after the uprising against the Russian autocracy in September 1831, Chopin was taken to write the sketch that later became a cult. This work marked the principles of a new creative period in the life of the great composer. The etude is considered the first heroic composition of Chopin, in which he clearly reflected his attitude to the events taking place in his native country. The work became a kind of model for works created later.

The etude's heroic theme has clear song features. At the same time, it is very dramatic, somewhat tragic, and creates a lot of tension. The composition ends in a low register with a sense of firm determination, but at the same time deep sorrow. The etude is, although a miniature work, nevertheless it unusually vividly reflected the tragedy of the Polish uprising of those years.

The etude was written by the composer during his stay in Paris, and was published a couple of years after its creation. All 12 Chopin etudes from Opus 10 (including No. 12) are dedicated to the Hungarian-German composer Franz Liszt, who gave the sketch its present name.

Interesting fact. For composers, the etude genre is usually associated with a musical exercise. But in Chopin's work, etudes are given a completely different meaning. Although all of them, without exception, develop some kind of one piano texture, each is a complete work: not just harmonious, but also bright, incredibly melodic and memorable.

Prelude No. 7, c-dur,? year

Rating: 4.8

Before talking about any of Chopin's preludes, it is important to consider one point: the works of this genre, created by the Polish composer, brought something new to world music. In the pre-classical period, the preludes were given a modest place for the introduction to various works: fugues, sonatas, chorales, etc. Chopin managed to revive the prelude to life, radically changing its purpose.

For the great romantic, improvisation and miniaturism — the most essential features of prelude — were the most attractive. Thanks to his improvisation, Chopin managed to bypass the constraining bonds of a given form. The composer's preludes have become a real piece of musical art in miniature. Any Chopin prelude and C major prelude is the author's incredible ability to stop a moment, to show its charm. It's like Chopin in musical aphorisms.

In Prelude No. 7, there is a powerful spiritual impulse, a real lyrical delight. The dynamism of the work, typical for the composer, is clearly expressed with a gradual decline in the final. The famous musicologist Henry Fink was incredibly fascinated by Chopin's preludes and considered them one of the most important works in musical history. He said that if all the music for the piano was destroyed and only one collection could be preserved, he would confidently vote for these compositions.

It is rather difficult to name the exact date of the creation of the work, since the work on the cycle was constantly interrupted and resumed again.

Concerto for piano and orchestra No. 2, f-moll, op. 21, 1830 (1836)

Rating: 4.9

The work was completed in 1830, but the publisher lost the score, and the concert had to be rewritten anew. It was printed after the 1st, therefore it received such a serial number. The creation of the great composer is considered one of the most significant works of the period of romanticism in piano music.

Each of the parts of Chopin's Second Concerto surprises with its integrity and originality. The finale of this work is perfection itself. Anyone who mistakenly considers the Polish composer to be a gloomy melancholic will only have to listen to this great creation to feel the power of joy, poetry, and the greatness of harmonious details. The f-moll concert is incredibly harmonious, and not only according to the author's intention, but also in execution: incredibly virtuoso, fantastic, bright as a holiday music with notes of folk dance.

The work was highly appreciated by the composer's contemporaries. For example, the famous virtuoso pianist and composer Franz Liszt said that in the concert one can feel 'places of amazing grandeur'. What thoughts did Chopin express in this magnificent piece? The author himself, in a letter to a close friend, mentioned this: 'I, perhaps, unfortunately, already have my ideal, which I … have been faithfully serving for six months already, about which I dream, to which I dedicate the Adagio of my concert …'.

It is about Chopin's first love – the daughter of the burgrave of the Warsaw Castle – Constance Gladkovskaya, with whom the great virtuoso was not destined to be together. Although the concert was created under the influence of feelings for Gladkovskaya, he dedicated it, nevertheless, not to her, but to Dolphina Potocka, whose family he met in Dresden.

Waltz No. 7, cis-moll, op. 64, 1847

Rating: 5.0

The waltz is considered one of the most poetic in the work of the Polish composer. The waltz in C sharp minor is still so popular that it can often be found in many soundtracks for films and TV shows. Chopin's music and his magnificent waltzes, including, did not leave indifferent many composers. For example, the famous French conductor and composer Paul Mauriat made magnificent arrangements for most of the works of the genius Chopin and Waltz cis-moll among them.

The piece stands out for its incredible plasticity of the melody and expressiveness of smooth harmonic repetitions. The whole mood of the melody is reduced to the rising and falling waves so beloved by Chopin. This is an incredibly graceful piano miniature filled with lyrics and light melancholy. The melody breathes airiness, lightness, creates a feeling of continuous floating, whirling in a dance.

the content of this most tender and full of sadness goes far beyond the ordinary dance. The melody full of sadness seems to bare the author's soul, creating a persistent feeling of pain, confusion and bitterness – feelings that the composer was full of in emotional moments that were difficult for him. Perhaps that is why the waltz is perceived by the audience so sensitively, remaining as relevant today as 150 years ago.


Attention! This rating is subjective and does not constitute an advertisement and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.

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