Prelude, Op. 28, No. 16 (Chopin)
The Prelude Op. 28, No. 16, the "Hades" prelude, by Frédéric Chopin, is considered by many to be the most difficult of the Chopin preludes. Hans von Bulow dubbed this prelude "Hades." It was composed between 1836 and 1839, published in 1839 and dedicated to Camille Pleyel who commissioned the opus 28 preludes for 2,000 francs.
The prelude opens with six heavily accented chords before progressing to an impromptu-like passage in the right hand. While the right hand must cover some four to six pages (depending on the edition) of sixteenth notes in around a minute at a presto con fuoco tempo, the prime difficulty of the prelude is in the rapid follow-through motion of the three-note left-hand chord groups.
Vladimir de Pachmann, a concert pianist noted for his performances of Chopin's repertoire, said of this prelude:
"The sixteenth is my great favorite! It is le plus grand tour de force in Chopin. It is the most difficult of all the preludes technically, possibly excepting the nineteenth. In this case, presto is not enough. It should be played prestissimo, or, better still, vivacissimo."