Nocturne No.18

Frédéric Chopin

Nocturne No.18 in E major

Op. 62/2, B. 161/2

About this work

Although the Two Nocturnes, Op.62 were composed three full years after the pair of Opus 55 works by the same title, the freedom of phrase design and thematic content in these, Frédéric Chopin's final two essays in the form (the posthumous Nocturne in E minor, Op.72 actually being a much earlier composition), indicate a compositional mindset very much drawing from and building upon the work he did on the second of the Op.55 pieces. The Opus 62 Nocturnes are so unique in every detail that it took musical Europe several decades to begin to appreciate just how important they really are: even as late as the early twentieth century it was common to dismiss these works as the products of a disease-weakened spirit, sickly, defeated, and sadly lacking in inspiration. Nothing could be further from the truth, as two such intimately expressive works as these-one is almost willing to assert that such musical privacy has no place in the public concert-hall-have rarely found their way onto paper. The Nocturne in E major, Op.62, No.2 was the last Nocturne published during Chopin's lifetime. A warm, sustained (and entirely unsentimental) melody fills the opening and concluding portions of the piece. The central section is, like so many earlier Nocturnes, more agitated in tone, though the effect is less worldly than in those previous examples, and more purely rhetorical. There is a kind of dialogue, containing many subtle melodic and intervallic imitations, between the two outer voices of the part- writing. During the coda Chopin seems reluctant to let go, almost as if, though a full three years from death, he guessed this to be his last entry in one of his most beloved genres.

Done