Chopin Works By David Dubal with Lists of Exceptional Recordings

Andante Spianato Op.22

Written in Chopin’s twentieth year, this is a marvelous display piece. The sumptuous Polonaise is ceremonial, the Andante spianato (i.e., with smoothness) is a liquid-toned gem demanding a poet’s reading. Read more…

Ballades

The first of the Four Ballades is a glowing masterpiece. James Huneker called this epic narrative “the odyssey of Chopin’s soul.” The great lyric theme, stated in three different forms, is intoxicating. Read more…

Barcarolle

One of Chopin’s greatest compositions. It has been the despair of many fine artists, being difficult to interpret successfully. It is easy to sound affected, as does Arrau, or nervous, as does Horowitz, or too plain, as did Gieseking. Read more…

Berceuse

A cradle song which is a tour de force of exquisite filigree. A virtually unchanged tonic pedal in D-flat in the bass continues throughout its seventy magical measures. Read more…

Concerto No. 1

The concerto is a grand harvest of perfect piano writing. It has retained a special place in the hearts of concert pianists, though conductors have far less to do in it than in other concertos. Read more…

Concerto No. 2

The Second Concerto, composed when Chopin was nineteen, predates No.1, and is more subjective than the latter. Read more…

Etudes Op. 10

The Chopin Etudes are the most important pieces in the genre and formed the basis for all future concert etudes. Read more…

Etudes Op. 25

Op. 25, No.1 in A-flat major: This is often called the Aeolian Harp. The weak fifth finger encounters a singing melody above a web of melting textures. Read more…

Fantaisie in F minor, Op. 49

This large-scaled composition is considered one of Chopin’s masterpieces. The Fantasy opens with a solemn and mysterious march-like introduction leading to a passionate drama with a central chorale, Lento sostenuto, of unusual serenity. Read more…

Four Impromptus

Impromptu No. 1 in A-flat major, Op. 29: The First Impromptu is carefree as a lark. George Du Maurier had poor Trilby sing it under the tutelage of Svengali. Read more…

Four Scherzos

Chopin composed four of his greatest creations under the title Scherzo, a word that means “a joke.” Was Chopin being ironic? Schumann was baffled; when reviewing the B minor Scherzo, he asked, “How are seriousness and gravity to be clothed if jest is to go about in such dark-colored garments?”. Read more…

The Mazurkas

Mazurka in B major, Op. 56, No.1: Critics such as Niecks, Huneker, and others were less attracted to the later mazurkas, which have since come to be understood as among Chopin’s greatest works. Read more…

The Nocturnes

The nocturne represents one of he great genres of Romantic art. Chopin inherited the species from John Field and proceeded to obliterate Field’s charming naivete with his own highly chromatic and sultry genius. Read more…

Other Works

Among Chopin’s miscellaneous works, mention should be made of the Variations brillantes on an air from an opera by Herold, Op.12, which shows how Chopin applied his art to the then popular custom of composing variations on opera themes. Read more…

The Polonaises

Polonaise in F-sharp minor, Op. 44: A raw and overwhelming work when played properly. Huneker asks us to “consider the musical weight of the work, the recklessly bold outpourings of a mind almost distraught! Read more…

The Preludes

Within these very small frames, Chopin captures a universe of feeling and mood. There is a prelude for each major and minor key; many of them demand high virtuosity. Read more…

Sonata

Chopin wrote three piano sonatas. No.1 in C minor (1827) was written for his teacher Elsner as a compositional problem. Academic and difficult, it holds almost no interest for pianists. Read more…

Trois Nouvelles Etudes

These were written for a piano method published by Moscheles. They make a fine six-minute set. No. 1 in F minor has a long melody of restrained passion, its technical use being three notes in the right hand to be played against four in the left hand. Read more…

The Waltzes

Chopin’s Waltzes are among the world’s most often played piano music. They fall into two styles: gracious and brilliantly decorated, or melancholy. John Ogdon calls them “the brightest jewels in the greatest salons of the time.” Read more…