COMPOSITIONS compositions

Nocturne in B major, incypit

Genre: Nocturne

Key: B major

Opus/WN: Op. 9 No. 3

Creation date: 1830-1831

Acc. to Paderewski: VII/3

Acc. to Turło: 110

Instruments: piano

Composition dedicated to:

Maria Camillowa Pleyel


The Nocturne in B major, which completes opus 9, is believed to have been composed in Vienna, in 1831, a little later than the first two works in that opus. It is clearly different from the other two pieces: remarkably mature in its ‘nocturnal’ independence. Traces of Field are not easily discernible. Like the Nocturne in B flat minor, it is of ternary design, with the middle part contrasted with the outer parts in a stark, sudden way.

The initial theme proceeds allegretto and has a character that is unusual for a nocturne: scherzando. Pianists do not apply that injunction too literally. It would seem that Chopin’s main intention was for the narrative to flow along smoothly. The ostensibly lively melody should be sung with ample, long breaths.

This enchanting, rocking theme, at times reminiscent of a barcarolle, returns spliced with a new theme. The latter is entirely melodious, and at the same time remarkably simple, almost song-like, enhanced merely with phrase-ending figuration. The agitato that fills the middle section of the Nocturne erupts suddenly… and disappears just as abruptly. It brings music that is almost menacing and bellicose. It proceeds in the relative key of B minor, in an alla breve metre, combining the rhythms of a march or insurrectionary song with sounds in the left hand that are almost onomatopoeic. It should be repeated that the spirit of Field has entirely melted away from the music of this Nocturne.

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


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