Scherzo No. 2 (Chopin)

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Overview[edit]

The Scherzo No. 2 in B-flat minor, Op. 31 is a scherzo by Frédéric Chopin. The work was composed and published in 1837, and was dedicated to Countess Adèle Fürstenstein. Schumann compared this scherzo to a Byronic poem, "so overflowing with tenderness, boldness, love and contempt." According to Wilhelm von Lenz, a pupil of Chopin, the composer said that the renowned sotto voce opening was a question and the second phrase the answer: "For Chopin it was never questioning enough, never soft enough, never vaulted (tombe) enough. It must be a charnel-house."[1] Huneker exults, "What masterly writing, and it lies in the very heart of the piano! A hundred generations may not improve on these pages."[1]

Structure[edit]

The beginning is marked Presto and opens in B flat minor. However, much of the work is written in D flat major or A major. The opening to the piece consists of two arpeggiated pianissimo chords, and after a moment's pause, goes into a set of fortissimo chords, before returning to the quiet arpeggiated chords. The piece then goes to an arpeggio section which leads to the con anima. The piece then repeats the first theme with slightly different notes, with long thrills after the first section with the fortissimo chords. It goes into an A Major theme which quickly turns into an arpeggio in E major. A stormy and wild section of mixed keys sequels the arpeggio, using themes played before in a scherzo, only in different keys. It then goes back to the first theme, and finally ends in a loud and hyper coda in D-flat Major, but not first briefly returning back to A Major.

In popular culture[edit]

The piece is heard in the Woody Woodpecker episode "Musical Moments".

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b ""Scherzo No. 2"". Classical Piano Solos. Retrieved 9 July 2013. 

External links[edit]