The Ballades of Chopin
Zimmerman plays Ballade No. 1
Zimmerman playing Ballade No. 4
Chopin's Four Ballades for The Piano
Below every Ballade you'll find a 'youtube' link for your enjoyment pleasure. In the case of the Ballade No. 3, you'll be able to see me perform the finale of this very famous work for piano solo...
The Ballades of Chopin - Chopin is considered one of the most important composers for the piano that has ever lived. Some have said, Chopin's piano solo music ranks second most important only to Beethoven's 32 Piano Sonatas...
Chopin was not as interested in ascribing or fusing literature to music like many of his contemporaries were (e.g., The music of Schumann, Liszt and Berlioz...), but he was one of music's greatest poets by reason of refined imagination and polished craftsmanship...
Chopin's four piano Ballades are a must for anyone interested in pursuing a concert career, as well as a must hear for anyone new to the world of classical music. These four concert works for piano solo are played on a regular basis by concert artists everywhere, as well as advanced piano students in general. As stated previously, these compositions are among the most important written for the instrument.
Ballade No. 1 in G minor, op. 23 composed between 1835 - 1836
This is currently Chopin's most famous Ballade. Written in Paris when Chopin was very young and starting out. It has some of the compositional techniques that Chopin would make use of later on in his more mature compositions for the piano. It's melodious, yet futuristic at the same time. This piece is performed quite often these days by young artists, so it has become something of a cliché, even if it's quite lovely... Zimerman does an incredible job performing it - here he is...
Ballade No. 2 in F major, op. 38 composed between 1836 - 1839
This is arguably the most important and futuristic of all the four Ballades, even if it has never really taken off with the public like the No. 1 or No. 3 have... The work is atrociously difficult to perform by even the greatest amongst concert pianists. Chopin dedicated the work to his friend and contemporary Robert Schumann. Schumann was one the first composers that commented on Chopin's genius (Schumann was involved in journalism and wrote for a newspaper at the time) by saying the now famous phrase "hats off gentlemen" in reference to Chopin and his music...
Ballade No. 3 in A flat major, op. 47 composed in 1841
This was once Chopin's most famous and arguably most beautiful of all his Ballades. This work was so overly played years ago, that people eventually got bored of it and now it is the No. 1 which gets overly performed by young artists trying to impress... This is I playing the finale at the piano in a very informal home recording I recently made - enjoy!
Ballade No. 4 in F minor, op. 52 composed in 1842
This is Chopin at his best and most difficult. Chopin's most technnically challenging Ballade of all alongside the No. 2 - it's also the longest in duration. The Ballade No. 4 shows Chopin at his most mature. Chopin was a master of improvisation and knew how to build up thematic material as can be seeing from how he he builds up the work's main theme throughout the entire composition from the first note to the last...
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