Piano Concerto No.2

Frédéric Chopin

Piano Concerto No.2 in F minor

Op. 21, B. 43

Recommended recording

Curated by Maryna Boiko, Primephonic Curator

About this work

The Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor of Polish composer Frédéric Chopin was actually composed before his Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor. The F minor was begun in autumn 1829 and premiered on March, 3, 1830, while the E minor was begun shortly after the premiere of the F minor. The F minor is a less popular and more derivative work than the E minor; there is the sense that Chopin, having heard the F minor, decided to move beyond his models. The opening Maestoso movement of the F minor is clearly modeled on the concertos of Mozart's pupil, Hummel. The central Larghetto is based almost literally on the Piano Concerto in G minor composed in 1820 by Ignaz Moscheles and the closing Allegro vivace is the most original movement of the three, a stylized Polish folk song. Within the movements, all the standard concerto principles are obeyed: an orchestra exposition of the main themes before a piano exposition of the same material, the usual contrast between the tonic minor and the relative major for the principal and subordinate themes, a lyrical slow movement in the relative minor, and a rondo-form finale in the tonic major. While Chopin's piano writing is idiomatic and highly personal -- the lyrical melodies and their ornamentations could have been composed by no one else -- his orchestral writing is at best competent. This, however, is less a fault than a decision: Chopin, the greatest composer for the piano of his age, would never let anything obscure the brilliance of his piano writing.

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