Nocturne in C-sharp minor, Op. posth. (Chopin)

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Opening bars of Nocturne 20

The Nocturne No. 20 in C-sharp minor, Op. posth., Lento con gran espressione, P 1, No. 16, KKIVa/16, is a solo piano piece composed by Frédéric Chopin in 1830 and published in 1870.

Chopin dedicated this work to his older sister, Ludwika Chopin, with the statement: "To my sister Ludwika as an exercise before beginning the study of my second Concerto".[1][2] First published 26 years after the composer's death, the piece is usually referred to as Lento con gran espressione, from its tempo marking. It is sometimes also called Reminiscence.[3][4]

The piece was played by Holocaust survivor Natalia Karp for the Nazi concentration camp commandant Amon Goeth, with Goeth being so impressed with the rendition that he spared Karp's life.[5]

Musical structure[edit]

A contrasting theme from the first section

The composition is marked Lento con gran espressione and is written in common time. After a soft, sad introduction, the main theme starts at bar 5, with the left hand playing broken chords in legato slurs throughout the section, imparting a haunting and continuous quality to the music. The theme then shifts to a dreamy pianissimo in bar 21, before returning to the original theme in bar 47, and finally ending in C major. The first two bars of the theme from the middle section (bars 21 and 22), resemble the main theme from the third movement of his own second piano concerto in F minor which was composed around the same time (1830). The next two bars (bars 23 and 24) resemble the second part of the secondary theme of the first movement from his second piano concerto. The passage in the middle section of the nocturne in 3/4 time starting in bar 33 resembles the scherzando section of the third movement of the second piano concerto starting in bar 145 in which the left and right hand are playing an octave apart.

The theme from the middle section in 3/4 time

In popular culture[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Narodowy Instytut Fryderyka Chopina
  2. ^ Murdoch, William (1935). Chopin: His Life. 
  3. ^ http://en.chopin.nifc.pl/chopin/manuscripts/detail/id/250
  4. ^ https://www.amazon.ca/Nocturnes-Comp-Fryderyk-Chopin/dp/B000001GPN
  5. ^ Charters, David. "Natalia Karp". Liverpool Daily Post. Retrieved 2008-04-02. 
  6. ^ "Władysław Szpilman plays Nocturne in C-sharp minor". DailyMail UK.com. Retrieved 20 July 2018

External links[edit]