Tablet - Portrait

Tablet - Landscape


Frédéric Chopin

Although the Two Nocturnes, Op.62 were composed three full years after the pair of Opus 55 works by the same title, the freedom of phrase design and thematic content in these, Frédéric Chopin's final two essays in the form (the posthumous Nocturne in E minor, Op.72 actually being a much earlier composition), indicate a compositional mindset very much drawing from and building upon the work he did on the second of the Op.55 pieces. The Opus 62 Nocturnes are so unique in every detail that it took musical Europe several decades to begin to appreciate just how important they really are: even as late as the early twentieth century it was common to dismiss these works as the products of a disease-weakened spirit, sickly, defeated, and sadly lacking in inspiration. Nothing could be further from the truth, as two such intimately expressive works as these-one is almost willing to assert that such musical privacy has no place in the public concert-hall-have rarely found their way onto paper. Chopin composed three Nocturnes in the key of B major; the present one (Op.62, No.1) is now the most generally popular. A singing main theme is profusely decorated with strings of trills and non-harmonic tones (especially upon its reprise during the latter portion of the piece). There is a deftly executed modulation from the principal key to A-flat major as the second, slightly more serious (but not starkly contrasting, as would be more traditionally acceptable) theme arrives. The reluctant accents of this middle section convey a poise and elegance that become all the more attractive in the hands of a skilled executant. There is, perhaps, more fioritura (that peculiarly operatic ornamentation that Chopin inherited from seventeenth- and eighteenth-century masters) about the reprise of the initial theme than we have seen in any of the composer's works since the famous D-flat major Nocturne of the Opus 27 pair.