Happy 200th Birthday, Chopin!

Chopin at the pianoToday, we celebrate the birthday of a historic composer, Frederic Chopin. Chopin was born in 1810 in Poland, and later moved to France. He was the poet of the piano, writing pieces with greater emotional depth than ever seen before. Although he rarely performed in public, his pieces show his virtuosic talent as a composer and a performer. He died in 1849, and his heart was put in a special container and now resides at a church.

For Chopin’s 200th birthday, I have listed some of my favorite pieces by him. Chopin wrote almost exclusively for the piano, and he admitted that he could not write for any other instrument.

My favorite works:

  • Etude in E Major Op. 10, No. 3 – A study in lyrical passages. Try singing it, it’s fun!
  • Etude in Gb Major Op. 10, No. 5 “Black key” – A study in wrist flexibility. Featured in the Korean drama “Secret.”
  • Prelude in G Op. 28, No. 2 – Sounds like flowers blooming in the spring time
  • Prelude in Db Major Op. 28, No. 15 “Raindrops” – They say that one night, Chopin was at the piano in a trance. He believed he drowned in a frozen lake, dead, while raindrops beat rhythmically on his chest. This is how this piece got its name.
  • Scherzo No. 3 in C# Minor Op. 39 – Chords with decorated sparkly passages give this piece a purple and  bright nocturnal character.
  • Scherzo in B Minor Op. 20 – One of Chopin’s darkest and most virtuosic works.
  • Nocturne in C# Minor Op. Posthumous – This was a small piece I heard on the film “The Pianist.” There’s a sort of grand brilliance to this piece.
  • All four of his ballades, especially Op. 47