Piano works are
What he’s known for, but there’s more
That you need to hear:
His versions of Polish songs,
A stirring trio.
Get to know Chopin
In a whole new dimension
In non-solo works.
Now let us all say
Happy birthday to the great
It is Chopin’s birthday today! Church records list his birthday as February 22, 1810, but since Chopin and his family celebrated his birthday on March 1, it is considered the correct date.
Where does one begin to write about Chopin? He was brilliant. His works revolutionized the piano repertoire, and enriched the world of music forever. His mazurkas and polonaises captured the soul of Poland, his nocturnes and preludes plumbed the depths of human emotions. Countless words have been written about his piano solo works.
So I’m going to write about his other works.
Did you know that Chopin didn’t write solely for the piano? Certainly, there is a piano present in all his works (and he wrote a piece for two pianos, Rondo in C for Two Pianos, Op. 73, Op. posth.), but lesser known are his compositions that include other instruments.
Chopin wrote two concertos for piano and orchestra (Op. 11 and Op. 21). There are many wonderful videos of the concertos performed at the International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition, and you can find them here. You can also hear and see Piano Concerto No 1 performed by Evgeny Kissin (Zubin Mehta conducting) or Martha Argerich (Jacek Kaspszyk conducting). Here is a link to Piano Concerto No 2 performed by Arthur Rubinstein (conducted by Andre Previn).
Cello fans will enjoy this video of Chopin’s Cello Sonata (Op. 65) performed by Natalia Gutman and Sviatoslav Richter, or this performance of the Introduction and Polonaise brillante in C major (op. 3) performed by Daniil Shafran and Anton Ginsburg.
Here is Chopin’s Trio for Violin, Cello, and Piano (Op. 8), a wonderfully stirring piece of music.
Chopin also set several poems in Polish to music. Here is one of his Polish songs for voice and piano.
And now, since it is Chopin’s birthday, here is a fun tribute to him, the song Happy Birthday in the style of Chopin, with some added improvisation.