Tablet - Portrait

Tablet - Landscape


Frédéric Chopin

Chopin was commissioned to write the so-called Trois nouvelles etudes (Three new studies) for the publication Méthode des méthodes, issued by virtuoso pianist and composer Ignaz Moscheles (who was far from a Chopin supporter) and François-Joseph Fétis, the eminent Belgian musicologist. After composing the Trois nouvelles etudes, Chopin would never again return to the etude form. This first of the trio, in F minor, is a study in cross rhythms. It begins slowly and mysteriously, gathering some momentum as it progresses, but never casting off its dark, somber character. Near the beginning of the piece, the different rhythmic patterns in each hand emerge, the right also carrying the main thematic material. While two distinct rhythms play simultaneously, their sounds do not conflict, but rather blend softly at the outset, then anxiously thereafter to produce a yearning, swelling sound that, in the end, retreats to an almost eerie grayness. While this piece runs for a mere two minutes or so -- not a short length, however, in comparison with other Chopin etudes -- it is nonetheless a brilliantly conceived and highly effective composition, quite representative of the composer's late style.