Saturday, August 16, 2008

Chopin's Fantaisie-Impromptu in C# minor Op 66
Dedicated to my cousin, Krissie

Okay, so I've taken a small break - quite literally - from music. I say that my break is literal, because I broke my foot :( So not only have I been in bed with my foot up much of the time, but I also can't really play the piano because I can't keep my foot comfortable under the piano for more than a couple of minutes (plus I am completely unable to use the damper pedal).

Fortunately, I had recorded Chopin's Fantaisie Impromptu a couple of weeks ago. I wrestled with whether or not I would release this one, because, quite honestly, I am so displeased with my playing of it. But I decided that I'd better put something out on my website since it has been a whole month since my last release, and it will likely be another month until my next :(

Photograph of Chopin,
About the Composition
This fantasy-impromptu (C-sharp minor) is a popular work and is frequently performed at recitals and competitions. Those of you who have heard this work and enjoy it might be surprised to learn that this composition was never published until after Chopin had died - so it was published "posthumously". In fact, Chopin had instructed one of his pupils to destroy the work! This is only one of several of Chopin's compositions that were published posthumously, only to become some of his most popular works. So why did he avoid publishing it? I suppose we will never know for certain, but most musical historians speculate that it was due to a fear of being labeled as a plagerizer of the great Beethoven! In the third movement of Beethoven's famous "Moonlight" sonata, there is a mini cadenza around measure 187 that is identical to the passage that is repeated throughout Chopin's fantasy, that first appears in measures 7-8. It is 100% identical! Was this intentional? Did he "steal" Beethoven's idea? I am confident in saying that he did NOT. I am certain that this is merely a coincidence. Even if Chopin did borrow the passage from Beethoven, it does not diminish value of the remaining 130 or so measures of the fantasy :)

I am dedicating this recording to my cousin, Krissie, who (like me) is currently suffering the trials of a broken foot. In fact, her situation is 10-fold worse than my own. To her husband, Jared, I apologize for yet another recording of a work by that "Chopin guy"!

This recording was completed at my home on my studio upright piano. You can listen to this recording by using the embedded media player below. You may also download this recording to your computer (or ipod/etc) which will provide you with a much better playback experience. To download this as an MP3 or WMA visit this page of my lisztonian website. You are also welcome to subscribe to my iTunes podcast - it is completely free - which will keep you updated when I release new recordings. I hope you enjoy my recording of Frederic Chopin's Fantaisie-Impromptu in C# minor!