• Tribute to Chopin
    Poppies over Burma
    Fryderyk Chopin's initials embellish the gate at The Hermitage -- formerly the Museum of the Chopin Festival -- where, in the summer of 1826, the Chopin family came to the spa at Duszniki "to take the waters."
    03 Springtime at Nohant Manor Small
    Chopin's Warsaw No. 2
  • Chopin Nocturnes Op. 48 Title page
    Photo from "Chopin's Europe" courtesy Hanna Komarnicki
    OP 9 No 2 Cover
    16 Nohant Typical Berry Country Road - Nocturne in C Minor, 1847 [KK 1233-5] AG
    Nohant Window 2 [96]
    Nohant Manor -- Garden Entry from "Chopin's Europe" courtesy MUZA, SA and Hanna Komarnicki
    Chopin Project Educational Outreach
    Hexameron Image

Wessel Edition Cover page: Chopin\'s Impromptu No. 2 For years one of the knocks on Chopin’s music is that he was a “ladies’ composer,” spinning out his piano pieces for the sighing, swooning denizens of Parisan salons, the result being that his remarkable compositions were often trivialized or marginalized.

According to the Cambridge Companion to Chopin, the composer hated the association:

“Chopin enjoyed elegant feminine company, but he had harsh views of the fawning of his ‘adoring women.’ He himself used the phrase ‘music for the ladies’, but unhappily he meant it disparagingly. Another association with the salon was the ‘sentimental drawing room composer” – the ‘superficial genius’ – and the appellation was encouraged by a self-imposed limitation of meidum, but the connotations of small forms, and by the description titles assigned to his music by publishers…”

One publisher in particular who drew Chopin’s ire was a London-based German entrepreneur named Christian Rudolph Wessel. As you can see by the cover page, above, (courtesy of the fantastic Chopin Early Editions site at the University of Chicago) the publisher issued Chopin’s marvelous Impromptu No. 2 in a series he called “Les Agrémans au Salon” — loosely translated as “Drawing-Room Trifles.” With “friends” like that….

Nowadays, Chopin’s Impromptus are a robust staple of the concert hall. Hear pianist Noel McRobbie perform Chopin’s Impromptu No. 2 in F-sharp Major, Op. 36, in a concert performance at the University of Michigan’s Britton Recital Hall.

Download the sheet music from the Piano Society web site.

  • Excellent interpretation, especially the passage at 1:40, by far the best rendering I’ve ever heard. I wish you enormous success as you continue this project. Would love to embed this on my website, is it possible to get the code?