COMPOSITIONS compositions

Prelude in D flat major, Op. 28 No. 15 incypit

Genre: Prelude

Key: D-flat major

Opus/WN: Op. 28 No. 15

Creation date: 1831(?)-1839, kompozycja cyklu: 1838-1839

Acc. to Paderewski: I/15

Acc. to Turło: 180

Instruments: piano

Composition dedicated to:

Joseph Christoph Kessler
Camille Pleyel


One of the most famous Preludes, the fifteenth, strikes one at first as an oasis of peace and calm. However, the transition from the bright key of D flat major to the tenebrous C sharp minor brings dark, gloomy, disturbing sonorities.

In the semantic interpretation of George Sand, this is the moment when ‘the ghosts of dead monks walk in mournful procession’. Chopin himself – adding the word ‘rainy’ to a pupil’s copy of this music – drew attention to another aspect of this work, namely the relentlessness and monotony with which a single note (always the same) resounds throughout the whole prelude, evoking imitative associations.

‘The rains that fall here are unheard of anywhere else’, Sand informed her friend Charlotte Marliani in Paris. ‘Our poor Chopin is weak and ailing’.

In George Sand’s memoirs, we even find a description of how this prelude came to be written, in the midst of rainy weather that was so bothersome to the inhabitants of the deserted charterhouse. The music of the prelude evoked imitative associations in Mrs Sand, and she betrayed this impression to Chopin. He did not approve. When she asked him – as she writes – ‘to listen to the patter of the raindrops that were indeed falling on the roof, he denied that he could hear them’. And – as the writer goes on to relate – he even grew angry about what she called imitative harmony. He protested with all his might against the puerility of those notions of the imitation of things heard. ‘And he was right’, she added. However, to confuse the picture a little more, it is worth mentioning that a few years later – as the sheet music belonging to one of his pupils attests – Chopin himself called the fifteenth Prelude (in D flat major) the ‘Raindrop’.

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


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Prelude in D flat major, Op. 28 No. 15 Op. 28 No. 15
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