Frédéric Chopin. Chopin’s letters to his Polish friends reveal a lively intelligence and ever-present sense of humour. His accounts of the musical and social occasions he attended are incisive and witty. According to Henryk Opienski’s book, Chopin’s Letters, Chopin wrote in October 1830 to his very close friend Tytus Wojciechowski: “I needed your letter to calm me down; …After the orchestral rehearsal of the second concerto, it was decided to give it in public, and next Monday, i.e. the 11th of this month, I bring it out. On one hand I am sorry; on the other, I am curious to see the general effect. I think the Rondo will impress everyone. About that Rondo, conductor Soliwa said to me: Il vous fait beacoup d’honneur.” Chopin writes again to Tytus on Tuesday the 12th of October 1830: “Yesterday’s concert was a success; I haste to let you know. I inform your Lordship that I was not a bit, not a bit nervous, and played the way I play when I’m alone, and it went well. Full hall. First Goerner’s Symphony. Then my noble self’s Allegro E minor, which I just reeled off; one can do that on the Streycher piano. Furious applause. Soliwa was delighted; …After the aria came the Adagio and Rondo; …big applause, after which – the usual farce – I was called up. No one hissed, and I had to bow 4 times.”
Piano Concerto No. 1, in E minor, op. 11.
In 1829-30, during Chopin’s last year in Poland, his attention was mainly
focused on writing his two piano concertos, the E minor, op.11 which was, in
fact, composed after the F minor, op.21. It is obvious that Piano Concerto No.1
depends considerably on the pianoforte and Chopin occasionally played it
without the accompaniment of an orchestra. The solo part in the slow movement is
typical of Chopin and was described in his own words as: “reviving in one’s soul
beautiful memories.” Some have found the orchestration faulty and others have
considered the orchestral display too long. Whatever the opinion, from its very
first performance by Chopin, when it was received with great applause, it has
continued to this day to be a hugely popular concerto.
Total Time 73:14
Free MP3 sample from Piano Concerto no. 2, track no. 5.