Nocturne No.4

Frédéric Chopin

Nocturne No.4 in F major

Op. 15/1, B. 55/1 • “Les zéphyrs 1”

About this work

Although composed just a few years after the Op. 9 Nocturnes, Frédéric Chopin's three Nocturnes, Op.15 (dedicated to friend and fellow pianist/composer Ferdinand Hiller) show a distinct stylistic advance over the earlier group. The emphasis on consummate mastery of the "salon" style, so crucial an element of the composer's earlier music, is abandoned in favor of a far more personal approach: here we can speak of the melodic contours and depth of feeling as being typically "Chopinesque."

The Nocturne in F major, Op.15, No.1, is of the passionate type first explored by the composer in the third and final Nocturne of Op. 9. A tender, loving andante melody opens this clear-cut ABA form; the more agitated middle section (marked con fuoco) uses a dramatic double-note texture to good effect. This nocturne is atypical in that no coda follows the serene reprise of the opening gesture: instead, two delicately arpeggiated chords bring the work to a tranquil close. Many have remarked that this nocturne seems to be missing its element of "nighttime" -- indeed, one can almost imagine sunlight leaking from the piece's seams.

Done