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The second Etude is in F minor, a key that is close to A flat major – its relative. This fact reminds us of Chopin’s ultimately abandoned intention of imparting to the whole set a logical and tonally coherent structure. He would only achieve this in respect to the Op. 28 Preludes.

The F minor Etude complements the A flat major. It is coloured in equally subtle, pastel shades, but it is also splendidly disturbed, as two different metres – alla breve (expressed through quaver triplets) and 6/4 – meet in each bar. The two metres are wonderfully attuned, though their disturbance remains audible. As if in a single breath, without respite, the right hand intones the arabesque of an unending melody, while the left discreetly counterpoints. The technical goal of the F minor Etude is the independence of the pianist’s two hands.

Chopin wrote the first two etudes of this set into the album of Maria Wodzińska (in Dresden, in 1836), at the time he proposed to her. Maria’s younger sister, Józefa Kościelska, passed on the information (written down by Raoul Koczalski) that the ‘charming, soft and dreamy’ music of the second Etude (Schumann’s description in the above-mentioned review) was to have been a ‘musical portrait of his fiancée’.

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


 
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Etude in F minor, Op. 25 No. 2 Op. 25 No. 2
 
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