Chopin – Nocturne in C sharp minor, Op. 27 No. 1 – Music | History

The Nocturnes, Op. 27 are two solo piano pieces composed by Frédéric Chopin. The pieces were composed in 1836 and published in 1837. Both nocturnes in this opus are dedicated to Countess d’Appony.
This publication marked the transition from triplets of nocturnes to contrasting pairs.
David Dubal feels that the pieces are “more aptly described as ballades in miniature”. Blair Johnson states that these two nocturnes are “two of the most powerful—and famous—nocturnes [Chopin] has ever penned” and that these nocturnes are “virtually unrecognizable” to the nocturne tradition of John Field.
The Nocturne in C-sharp minor is initially marked larghetto and is in 4/4 meter. It transitions to più mosso (more movement) in measure 29. The piece returns to its original tempo in measure 84, and ends in an adagio beginning in measure 99. The piece is 101 measures long and written in ternary form with coda; the primary theme is introduced, followed by a secondary theme and a repetition of the first.
The opening alternates between major and minor and uses arpeggios, commonly found in other nocturnes as well, in the left-hand. It sounds “morbid and intentionally grating”. James Friskin noted that the piece requires an “unusually wide extension of the left hand” in the beginning and called the piece “fine and tragic”. James Huneker commented that the piece is “a masterpiece”, pointing to the “morbid, persistent melody” of the left hand. For David Dubal, the più mosso has a “restless, vehement power”. Huneker also likens the più mosso to a work by Beethoven due to the agitated nature of this section. The coda “reminds the listener of Chopin’s seemingly inexhaustible prodigality” according to Dubal while Huneker calls it a “surprising climax followed by sunshine” before returning to the opening theme.


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