The early piano trio, the two piano concertos, the three piano sonatas and the late cello sonata op. 65 comprise Chopin’s few contributions to sonata form, the principal form of the Classical era. Especially the two Piano Sonatas opp. 35 and 58 fully deserve their reputation as two of Chopin’s most distinctive creations.
The b flat minor Sonata was written in 1839, but the funeral march that made it famous had seen the light of day two years earlier. Its combination of free and structured form, of passion and clarity, gave birth to a work of incomparable mastery crowned with a highly original final movement: 75 measures of surging, unison eighth-note triplets.
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The sonata as the principal musical form of the Classic Period was brought to the very acme of perfection by the genius of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven. Succeeding generations of composers would therefore devote themselves to the cultivation of this form with some reserve only. This is one of the reasons why in Chopin’s works also those compositions predominate which may be … more
About the composer
Pianist and composer. His work is concentrated around piano music that enjoys extraordinary popularity and has become an integral part of the concert repertoire. His music influenced subsequent generations in France (Franck, Saint-Saëns, Fauré, Debussy) as well as Smetana, Dvořák, Balakirev, Grieg, Albéniz.
|1810||Born in Żelazowa Wola near Warsaw on March 1. First compositions at age seven, his first public performance at eight.|
|1822||Private instruction in composition.|
|1825||Rondo in C minor, Op. 1, his first published work.|
|1826–29||Studies at the Institute of Music in Warsaw.|
|1829||“Fantaisie sur des airs nationaux polonaise” in A major, Op. 13; Piano Trio in G minor, Op. 8. Travels to Vienna, where he gives two concerts of his compositions and improvisations.|
|1829–33 and 1835–37||Etudes, Opp. 10 and 25 -- a new type of virtuosic etude that also makes aesthetic demands.|
|1830||Premieres in Warsaw of his two piano concerti, Op. 21 in F minor and Op. 11 in E minor.|
|1831||Unable to return to Warsaw due to the Polish uprising, he goes to Paris, where he will remain until the end of his life.|
|1832||Debut concert in Paris to great acclaim.|
|1835/38||“Trois valses brillantes,” Op. 34.|
|1836/39||“24 Preludes,” Op. 28, in a cyclic succession: compactly-designed short pieces.|
|1835/39||Piano Sonata in B-flat minor, Op. 35, with the funeral march.|
|1842/43||Ballade No. 4 in F minor, Op. 52; “Grande Polonaise brillante” in A-flat major, Op. 53; Scherzo No. 4 in E major, Op. 54.|
|1844||Piano Sonata in B minor, Op. 58|
|1849||Completion of the mazurkas in G minor and F minor. Death in Paris on October 17.|