I am compelled to think about paving my way in the world as a pianist.” – Shortly after arriving in Paris Chopin penned those memorable words in a letter to his old Warsaw music teacher Józef Elsner. And one of the first pianistic roads Chopin paved in his own way was through the development of the Nocturne, a form more or less invented by the Irish composer John Field, but, quoting the Guild Music website: “it was Chopin who brought the genre to its perfection. In his Nocturnes, he displays his unique melodic gift (very much influenced by the bel canto operas of his time) and his extraordinary ability to renew the accompaniment.”

 

Chopin’s development of the Nocturne form really came into its own with the publication of his Three Nocturnes, Op. 15 in the early 1830’s. Today’s entry – The Nocturne in G minor, Op. 15, No. 3 – showcases Chopin’s incredible gift for opera-like melody at the beginning and end of the piece, contrasted by a fierce, fiery and virtuosic middle section.

Hear Chopin Project pianist Christina Thayer Fox perform Chopin’s utterly original Nocturne In G minor, Op. 15, No. 3.

Ferdinand Hiller, dedicatee of Chopin\'s Op. 15 Nocturnes
Ferdinand Hiller, dedicatee of Chopin’s Op. 15 Nocturnes

Chopin dedicated the Op. 15 Nocturnes to his friend and mentor Ferdinand Hiller, a German composer, conductor, and pianist whose own music has been almost totally forgotten, but whose name lives on as the dedicatee both of these Chopin masterworks as well as Robert Schumann’s Piano Concerto.

Read the Wikipedia entry here.

Read the Chopinmusic.net entry on the Nocturnes here.

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