Prelude, Op. 28, No. 4 (Chopin)

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The Prelude Op. 28, No. 4 by Frédéric Chopin is one of the 24 Chopin preludes. By Chopin's request, this piece was played at his own funeral, along with Mozart's Requiem.


Hans von Bülow called the prelude "suffocation", due to its sense of despair. In fact, Chopin's last dynamic marking in the piece is smorzando, which means "dying away". But the prelude may have once been given a title. According to George Sand's daughter Solange, who stayed with the composer at the monastery in Majorca when the preludes were written, "My mother gave a title to each of Chopin’s wonderful Preludes; these titles have been preserved on a score he gave to us." [1] That titled score is lost. But Solange did record the names of the preludes, apparently without assigning the names to the prelude numbers.[2] It is believed that the title "Quelles larmes au fond du cloître humide?" ("What tears [are shed] from the depths of the damp monastery?") corresponds to Prelude No. 4.

Cultural legacy[edit]

Film and television[edit]

Adaptations and covers[edit]

  • An ambient chiptune musical arrangement entitled "Continuum" by Rich Vreeland is played during the normal ending of the video game Fez.
  • The French rap band Suprême NTM sampled it for their song called "That's My People".
  • Musician Rob Dougan composed and recorded "Clubbed To Death 2", a song which uses the prelude for most of its musical structure.
  • Don Byron covered Prelude No. 4 on clarinet in a track named "Charley's Prelude" on his album "Bug Music".
  • Serge Gainsbourg based his 1969 song "Jane B" on this prelude.
  • The Radiohead song "Exit Music (For a Film)", which was written for the film Romeo + Juliet, and which featured on the band's album OK Computer, is based on the Prelude No. 4.[4]
  • Other musicians, such as Jimmy Page from legendary rock band Led Zeppelin, have also made contemporary arrangements of this piece.[6][7]
  • The soundtrack of 1999 video game Age of Empires II contains the song "Pork Parts" composed by Stephen Rippy, based on this piece.


  • Benjamin Zander talks in depth about the prelude in talks (the most notable being his TED2008 appearance[8]) to persuade the public that Classical music is enjoyable by everyone.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Chopin: Pianist and Teacher as Seen by His Pupils", by Jean-Jacques Eigeldinger, paperback p. 281
  2. ^ "List of Solange's names of the Preludes". Archived from the original on 2014-03-02. Retrieved 2011-01-12.
  3. ^ "Five Easy Pieces". IMDb. Retrieved 23 November 2016.
  4. ^ a b Biamonte, Nicole (2012). "Variations on a Scheme: Bach's 'Crucifixus' and Chopin's and Scriabin's E-Minor Preludes". Intégral. 26: 73. JSTOR 23629590.
  5. ^ DVD at ca. 1:57:12 to 1:59:13, plus a reprise at ca. 2:03:13 to 2:03:51.
  6. ^ "Classical Made Modern - contemporary arrangements of classical music". Retrieved 10 May 2016.
  7. ^ currennelson (2011-04-20), Jimmy Page Prelude No 4 in E minor, Op 28, retrieved 2016-07-03
  8. ^ Benjamin, Zander. "The Transformative Power of Classical Music". TED. Retrieved 6 January 2016.