Chopin: Piano Concertos

Chopin: Piano Concertos

Nikolai Demidenko (piano), Philharmonia Orchestra, Heinrich Schiff (conductor)


Chopin completed his F minor Concerto between the autumn of 1829 and early 1830, and the E minor between April and 21 August 1830. The E minor (published first, by Schlesinger of Paris in July 1833) he dedicated to Friedrich Kalkbrenner, the German pianist/composer; the F minor (published second, by Breitkopf of Leipzig in April 1836) to the Countess Delphine Potocka. According to a letter to his friend Titus Woyciechowski (3 October 1829), the slow movement of the F minor was the fruit of his secret feelings for a young soprano, Konstancja Gladkowska, whom he had first met at the Warsaw Conservatoire in 1826: ‘Perhaps unfortunately, I already have my ideal, whom I have served faithfully, though silently, for half a year, of whom I dream, to thoughts of whom the adagio of my concerto belongs, and who this morning inspired the little waltz [Op 70/3] I am sending you … I often tell my pianoforte what I want to tell you.’ The Larghetto of the E minor is also haunted by her image: ‘It is not meant to be loud – it’s more of a romance, quiet, melancholic; it should give the impression of gazing tenderly at a place which brings to mind a thousand dear memories. It’s a sort of meditation in beautiful spring weather but by moonlight’ (letter to Titus, 15 May 1830). Sadly, the girl herself, despite exchanging rings, never seems to have taken seriously Chopin’s love for her. After his death all she could find to say was that ‘he was temperamental, full of fantasies, and unreliable’.

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