COMPOSITIONS compositions

Largo in E flat major incypit

Genre: Other

Key: E-flat major

Opus/WN: [op. posth.]

Creation date: 1847(?)

Acc. to Paderewski: XVIII/13

Acc. to Turło: 49

Instruments: piano

 

In November 1825, Chopin boasted about his new occupation: ‘I play every week, on Sunday, at the Visitandines’ on the organ, and the others sing’. Those others were his school-friends from the Lyceum. In those days, it was a custom to sing ‘Boże, coś Polskę’ [God, Thou who Poland] at the end of the mass – in the old, loyalist version of the text by Alojzy Feliński, of course, and also with the old melody, of uncertain provenance. Chopin must have committed that melody to memory. Later, in Paris, he sketched – probably for one of his friends from back home – its melody, which he had harmonised in organ style, and dated it (though omitting the year): ‘Paris, 6 July’.

Until recently, the album leaf which Ludwik Bronarski published in 1938 was held to be a Largo in E flat major. Today, we know it is the melody of the song ‘Boże, coś Polskę’ that Chopin played at church during his final year at the Warsaw Lyceum.

Tadeusz Zieliński speculated that the Largo in E flat major was the work which the Marquis de Custine – in an account of Chopin improvising in his [the marquis’s] drawing-room – called ‘Prayer of the Poles’. We cannot know for sure, but it does seem plausible.

Author: Mieczysław Tomaszewski
[Cykl audycji "Fryderyka Chopina Dzieła Wszystkie"]
Polish Radio, program II


 
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