Les 4 scherzi  

Frédéric Chopin
Les 4 scherzi

Regina Albrink, piano

VOL GR 012

Price for one CD : 6.90 €

Listen all tracks :

Track, Title Listen Caddy
01. Scherzo op. 31, en si bémol mineur (b flat minor, b-moll) (9:50) 0.59
02. Etude op. 25, n° 7 en do dièse mineur (c sharp minor, cis-moll) (5:52) 0.49
03. Scherzo op. 20, en si mineur (b minor, h-moll) (9:40) 0.59
04. Romance du concerto n°1, op.11, d’après Balakirev (10:06) 0.49
05. Scherzo op. 39, en do dièse mineur (c sharp minor, cis-moll) (7:21) 0.49
06. Berceuse op. 57, en ré bémol majeur (D flat major, Des-Dur) (4:31) 0.49
07. Scherzo op. 54, en mi majeur (E major, E-dur) (11:16) 0.59
08. Grande valse brillante op. 34, n°1 , en la bémol majeur (A flat major, As-Dur) (6:25) 0.49

Total Time 1:03:24

Frédéric Chopin (1810—1849) wrote four stand-alone scherzi, and four times he filled a long-established form with a very novel content. Here one is far from music that could replace the menuet in symphony or sonata, and even further from the original meaning of "scherzo", joke. What will be the clothes of earnest, Schumann was wondering, if banter is already clad in dark veils?

Apart from their dazzling textures and deeply moving melodic lines, however, these compositions owe their impact to Frédéric Chopin’s profound understanding of tradition. The way he organizes the breathtaking climaxes of the Second Scherzo and the Third Scherzo, for instance, is by exploiting the dominant-tonic relationship—the main device in classical sonata form.

The First Scherzo, opus 20, was published in London as "Le Banquet infernal", banquet in hell. The first notes of the melody of the trio are taken from a Polish Christmas carol, "Lulajze Jezuniu, lulajze, lulaj", Sleep, little Jesus, sleep.

The Second Scherzo, opus 31, on the other hand, went in England by the name "La Méditation". ( Wessel, Chopin’s London publisher, thought such names were indispensable for the sale of Frédéric Chopin’s works. ) This is the scherzo of which it has been said that it was "desecrated, tamed by governesses’ hands."

The Third Scherzo, opus 39, is dedicated to the German pianist Adolf Gutmann, who studied under Frédéric Chopin from his fifteenth year. According to another pupil of Chopin’s, Wilhelm von Lenz, Gutmann was strong enough to be able to knock a hole in a table with the left-hand chord in the sixth bar—a chord that many pianists cannot even grasp. When Moscheles visited Frédéric Chopin in 1840 and Chopin felt too weak to play, it was Gutmann who presented the just finished opus 39.

The Fourth Scherzo, opus 54, carries forward the polyphony of the second to heights that in the nineteenth century, it seems, were not always fully appreciated. Saint-Saëns (who never forgave himself to have obeyed his teacher’s ban on hearing Chopin play) quotes its main motif in the second movement of his own second piano concerto. The Romance from opus 11 is a transcription for piano solo of the second movement of Chopin’s first concerto for Piano and Orchestra, opus 11. We owe this transcription to the Russian composer Mili Balakirev (1837—1910), who wrote it in 1905. Later, on the occasion of the Frédéric Chopin centenary in 1910, Balakirev also revised Chopin’s orchestration of opus 11 and arranged several of his piano pieces for orchestra.

Andries Lenstra