Georgian classical pianist Khatia Buniatishvili plays Frédéric Chopin’s Piano Sonata No. 2 in B♭ minor, Op. 35, popularly known as The Funeral March.
The sonata is in four movements:
- Grave – Doppio movimento (in B♭ minor and in modified sonata form with the first subject absent in the recapitulation, ending in B♭ major) The first movement features a stormy opening theme and a gently lyrical second theme.
- Scherzo (in E♭ minor and in ternary form, middle section, and ending in G♭ major) The second movement is a virtuoso scherzo with a more relaxed melodic central section.
- Marche funèbre: Lento (in B♭ minor and in ternary form) The third movement begins and ends with the celebrated funeral march in B♭ minor which gives the sonata its nickname but has a calm interlude in D♭ major. While the term “funeral march” is perhaps a fitting description of the 3rd movement, complete with the Lento Interlude in D♭ major, the expression “Chopin’s Funeral March” is used commonly to describe only the funeral march proper (in B♭ minor). It was played at the graveside during Chopin’s own burial at Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.
- Finale: Presto (in B♭ minor) The finale contains a whirlwind of unremitting parallel octaves, with unvarying tempo and dynamics, and not a single rest or chord until the final bars with a sudden fortissimo B♭ octave and a B♭ minor chord ending the whole piece.
The emotive “funeral march” has become well-known in popular culture. It was used at the state funerals of John F. Kennedy, Sir Winston Churchill, and Margaret Thatcher and those of Soviet leaders, including Leonid Brezhnev.
- Piano Sonata No. 2 (Chopin) on Wikipedia
- Pavarotti sings Fra poco a me ricovero [Milano, 1990] - December 5, 2023
- Smetana: The Moldau (Vltava) [Radio Filharmonisch Orkest, Urbański] - December 4, 2023
- Chopin: Ballade No. 4 [Sophie Druml] - December 2, 2023