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  • Print publication year: 1997
  • Online publication date: December 2009

2 - Creation

Summary

Genesis

After his Vienna triumph in August 1829, Chopin returned to Warsaw newly committed to a virtuoso career, and before long he embarked on his first concerto with that goal in mind. His earliest mention of the F minor Concerto appears in a letter to his friend Tytus Woyciechowski dated 3 October 1829, confessing that his ‘ideal’ – Konstancja Gladkowska, a young singer he had long admired – had inspired the slow movement. On 20 October, he told Tytus: ‘Eisner has praised the Adagio of my concerto. He says it is original; but I don't wish to hear any opinions on the Rondo just yet as I am not quite satisfied with it.’ In mid November Chopin commented that the third movement was still incomplete, and several months passed before the concerto's first public airing on 17 March 1830 at the Teatr Narodowy, conducted by Kurpiński. This concert – Chopin's Warsaw debut – had such success (despite his own misgivings) that it was repeated on the 22nd with a larger, more resonant piano.

By then the E minor Concerto was underway. Chopin reported to Tytus on 27 March 1830 that ‘I shall be finishing the first Allegro of my second concerto before the holidays’, and on 15 May that although the Rondo was unfinished, the first movement was done, as was the second movement, of which he observed:

It is not meant to create a powerful effect; it is rather a Romance, calm and melancholy, giving the impression of someone looking gently towards a spot which calls to mind a thousand happy memories. It is a kind of reverie in the moonlight on a beautiful spring evening. […]

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Chopin: The Piano Concertos
  • Online ISBN: 9780511611636
  • Book DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511611636
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