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Among the works not published by Chopin is a miniature which he sent to his sister Ludwika from Vienna in 1830. It is likely to have been written shortly after his arrival in Vienna, before Chopin received news of the outbreak of the November Rising, as it appears to be the product of some happy moment, and it is a unique composition in the Chopin oeuvre. Firstly, it combines a tender mood with humorous accents. Secondly, it quotes the composer’s own works, which is something that Chopin rarely did.

Actually a nocturne, this work came to light in 1875, thanks to Marceli Antoni Szulc, who had it published by Leitgeber of Poznań as an Adagio. It was subsequently given various titles. In her list of Chopin’s unpublished compositions, Ludwika Jędrzejewicz called it a ‘Lento, of a nocturne character’ and added the note ‘sent to me from Vienna’. It was sent with a dedication: ‘For my sister Ludwika to practise before she takes on my second Concerto’.

At present, this work is known under the title Lento con gran espressione, and it is numbered among the nocturnes or the ephemeral lyrics. It has a reprise form. A nocturne character dominates the outer sections, whilst the middle section is filled with witty, jocular self-quotations: from the F minor Concerto (the first and last movements) and from the song ‘Życzenie’ [A maiden’s wish].

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


 
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Lento con gran espressione in C sharp minor [op. posth.]
 
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