Chopin – Etude Op. 25 – Music | History
The Études by Frédéric Chopin are three sets of études (solo studies) for the piano published during the 1830s. There are twenty-seven compositions overall, comprising two separate collections of twelve, numbered Op. 10 and Op. 25, and a set of three without opus number.
Chopin’s Études formed the foundation for what was then a revolutionary playing style for the piano. They are some of the most challenging and evocative pieces of all the works in concert piano repertoire. Because of this, the music remains popular and often performed in both concert and private stages. Some are so popular they have been given nicknames; arguably the most popular of all is Op. 10, No. 3, sometimes identified by the names “Tristesse” (“Sadness”) or “Farewell” (“L’Adieu”), as well as the “Revolutionary Étude” (Op. 10, No. 12). No nicknames are of Chopin’s original creation.
All twenty-seven études were published during Chopin’s lifetime; Op. 10, the first group of twelve, were composed between 1829 and 1832, and were published in 1833, in France, Germany, and England. The twelve études of Op. 25 were composed at various times between 1832 and 1835, and were published in the same countries in 1837. The final three, part of a series called Méthode des méthodes de piano compiled by Ignaz Moscheles and François-Joseph Fétis, were composed in 1839, without an assigned opus number. They appeared in Germany and France in November 1840, and England in January 1841. Accompanying copies of these important early editions, there are usually several manuscripts of a single étude in Chopin’s own hand, and additional copies made by his close friend, Jules Fontana, along with editions of Karol Mikuli, Chopin’s student.
The first études of the Opus 10 set were written when Chopin was still in his teens. They rank alongside the early works of Felix Mendelssohn as rare examples of extremely youthful compositions that are regarded as both innovative and worthy of inclusion in the standard canon. Chopin’s études elevated the musical form from purely utilitarian exercises to great artistic masterpieces.
Although sets of exercises for piano had been common from the end of the 18th century (Muzio Clementi, Johann Baptist Cramer, Ignaz Moscheles, and Carl Czerny were composers of the most significant), Chopin’s Études not only presented an entirely new set of technical challenges, but were the first to become a regular part of the concert repertoire. His études combine musical substance and technical challenge to form a complete artistic form. They are often held in high regard as the product of mastery of combining the two. His effect on contemporaries such as Franz Liszt was apparent, based on the revision Liszt made to his series of concert études after meeting Chopin. Contemporary Polish musicologist Tadeusz A. Zielinski wrote, on Op. 10, that “not only did they become an orderly demonstration of a new piano style and the formulas peculiar to it, but also an artistic ennoblement of this style.”
Chopin’s Études are not without modern influence as well. Several of the études have lodged themselves in popular music, movies, or television shows.
Chopin’s second set of Études was published in 1837, and dedicated to Franz Liszt’s mistress, Marie d’Agoult, the reasons for which are a matter of speculation.
The date of composition of all opus 25 Etudes is before June 30 1835 , the date of a contract between Chopin and Breitkopf & Hartel (awarding the publisher the rights for Germany) ( Krystyna Kobylanska )