Accompanied by the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, then 13-year-old Evgeny Kissin, the Russian-born Russian-British-Israeli classical pianist plays Frédéric Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor, Op. 11. Conductor: Andrei Chistyakov. This performance took place on May 23, 1985.
Kissin has a wide repertoire and is especially known for his interpretations of the works of the Romantic era, particularly those of Frédéric Chopin, Sergei Rachmaninoff, and Franz Liszt. He is commonly viewed as a great successor of the Russian piano school because of his virtuosity and powerful key touch.
Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1
Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1 was first performed on 11 October of that year, in Warsaw, with the composer as soloist, during one of his “farewell” concerts before leaving Poland.
It was the first of Chopin’s two piano concerti to be published and was therefore given the designation of Piano Concerto “No. 1” at the time of publication, even though it was actually written immediately after what was later published as Piano Concerto No. 2. It is dedicated to Friedrich Kalkbrenner.
The concerto is scored for solo piano, pairs of flutes, oboes, clarinets, bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, tenor trombone, timpani, and strings.
Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1 has three movements:
- Allegro maestoso. The first movement of the E minor concerto has three themes, which are introduced by the orchestra. The piano then plays the first theme (bar 139), followed by the lyrical second theme (bar 155), accompanied by the main motif of the first theme in the bass counterpoint. The third theme is in E major, introduced in the exposition by the orchestra and taken over by the piano (bar 222). The development begins in bar 385, with the piano opening with the second theme; the orchestra then develops the first theme. The recapitulation begins in bar 486 again with the orchestra playing its opening theme. The third E major theme comes back (bar 573), except this time in G major (i-III), but eventually, the coda reverts back to E minor, and the movement ends with a piano section, followed by a sudden forte E minor chord at the end.
- Romanze – Larghetto in E major. The Romanze, although not strictly in sonata form, has its second theme of the exposition ascribed to the classical model of modulating to the dominant (I-V), and, when it returns, it modulates to the mediant (III). The second movement has been described as “unashamedly heart-on-your-sleeve stuff.”
- Rondo – Vivace in E major. The finale of Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1 was written with much procrastination, hesitation, and difficulty. It features Krakowiak rhythms, a syncopated, duple-time popular dance in contemporary Krakow. It became one of the last pieces written by Chopin before the political turmoil in Poland that prevented him from returning. When, after completing the Rondo in August 1830, he played it privately – first with a string quartet and then a small orchestral ensemble.
- Piano Concerto No. 1 (Chopin) on Wikipedia
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