COMPOSITIONS compositions

Prelude in C sharp minor, incypit

Genre: Prelude

Key: C-sharp minor

Opus/WN: Op. 45

Creation date: 1841

Acc. to Paderewski: I/25

Acc. to Turło: 190

Instruments: piano

Composition dedicated to:

ks. Elisabeth Czernyszew


There is a work – a consummate masterpiece – about which pianists all too seldom remember, born entirely of the spirit of improvisation. The work in question is the Prelude in C sharp minor, composed at Nohant during the summer of 1841 and published in the autumn as a separate opus (45). When sending the manuscript to Fontana for copying, Chopin could not hide his satisfaction, expressed in the words ‘well modulated!’

The Prelude does not have an a priori form. It gives the impression of being a notated improvisation. The four opening bars set the mood. There follows a dreamy spinning-out of two slowly formed themes: the principal theme, in which the boundary between melody and accompaniment melts away in the overall sound, and a second theme in which the distinctness of the melodic contour holds sway over the colouring, emotions over impressions.

The charms of pure sonority are brought by the cadenza, but that too swells towards emotional ecstasy. The opening theme returns, before dissolving away in softening strains.

Chopin composed the Prelude in C sharp minor for the Paris publisher Maurice Schlesinger. At the beginning of October, in Paris, Fontana proofread the work. It appeared as opus 45, with a dedication to Princess Elisabeth Czernicheff, one of Chopin’s pupils.

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


The Real Chopin »

Kevin Kenner

Prelude in C sharp minor, Op. 45
Gallery »