Chopin published his Scherzi nos. 1–3 at more-or-less regular intervals, in 1835, 1837 and 1840 – almost as if he’d planned them in advance. He published his fourth and final work in this genre after a further three years, in 1843. When compared with its predecessors, which were largely bleak in mood, this Scherzo no. 4 is surprisingly cheerful. With its sparkling runs and its chains of chords like dappled brush strokes, this work seems to summon up the fairy-like spirit of Mendelssohn’s scherzi. In editorial terms, however, it is problematical. Three parallel first editions were published – in Germany, France and England – and the many variants between them have to be investigated one at a time to determine their authenticity. This is a task that has been solved meticulously in this revised, stand-alone Urtext edition, which explains the transmission of this work in an exemplary, transparent manner for today’s pianists.
Read more about this edition in the Henle Blog.
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The Scherzo in E major op. 54 by Frédéric Chopin (1810 – 49) is the last of the set of four Scherzi that Chopin published between 1835 and 1843. They are often compared with the four Ballades that were published during roughly the same period (1836 – 43). The Scherzi and Ballades are exceptional examples of Chopin’s endeavour to create large-scale, … 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.|