Accompanied by the Chamber Orchestra of Polish Radio, the German-Russian classical pianist Olga Scheps performs Frédéric Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor, Op. 11. Conductor: Agnieszka Duczmal. Recorded live at Tonhalle Dusseldorf on January 22, 2014.
Chopin wrote this piano concerto when he was only 17 years old. The piece is dedicated to Friedrich Kalkbrenner (November 2-8, 1785 – June 10, 1849), the German-born French pianist, composer, piano teacher and piano manufacturer. It is actually his second piano concerto, but was published before the real No. 1 (now known as Chopin’s Second Piano Concerto), and therefore became known as the Polish composer’s Piano Concerto No. 1.
There are three movements. With the starting times in the video:
- 00:00 Allegro maestoso Both the first and second movements feature unusual modulations; in the opening Allegro, the exposition modulates to the parallel major, i-I, instead of the expected i-III. This tonal relation (i-III) between the second and the third theme finally occurs in the recapitulation, where an actual i-I modulation would have been expected, producing a different effect. 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 lyric second theme (bar 155), accompanied by the main motif of the first theme in 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.
- 22:02 Romanze – Larghetto The Romanze, although not strictly in sonata form, has its second theme of the exposition ascribe to the classical model of modulating to the dominant (I-V), and, when it returns, it modulates to the mediant (III). Chopin wrote in a letter to the Polish political activist, agriculturalist and patron of art Tytus Woyciechowski (1808-1879), saying, “It is not meant to create a powerful effect; it is rather a Romance, calm and melancholy, giving the impression of someone looking gently towards a spot that calls to mind a thousand happy memories. It is a kind of reverie in the moonlight on a beautiful spring evening.” The second movement has been described as “unashamedly heart-on-your-sleeve stuff.”
- 33:38 Rondo – Vivace Written with much procrastination, hesitation, and difficulty, the third movement features Krakowiak (a fast, syncopated Polish dance in duple time from the region of Kraków and Little Poland) rhythms. 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 — he said proudly, “Rondo – impressive. Allegro – strong.”
- Piano Concerto No. 1 (Chopin) on Wikipedia
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