Scherzo No. 2 (Chopin)
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. Robert 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." Huneker exults, "What masterly writing, and it lies in the very heart of the piano! A hundred generations may not improve on these pages."
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The beginning is marked Presto and opens in B flat minor. However, most of the work is written in D flat 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. Then, the middle section appears in A major. After the middle section ends (modulating in B flat minor), the first section reappears with a coda.
In popular culture
The piece is heard in the Woody Woodpecker episode "Musical Moments From Chopin". A fragment is also heard in the movie "Witness to murder", 1954, with Barbara Stanwyck.
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