The two Nocturnes, Op. 55 by Frédéric François Chopin, the fifteenth and sixteenth of his nocturnes, were composed between 1842 and 1844, and published in August 1844.
Composed in 1842-1844, the F minor nocturne has an average duration of about 5 minutes.
The second nocturne in E♭ major features a 12/8 time signature, triplet quavers in the bass, and a lento sostenuto tempo marking. The left-hand features sweeping legato arpeggi from the bass to the tenor, while the right-hand often plays a contrapuntal duet and a soaring single melody. There is a considerable amount of ornamentation in the right hand, for instance the prolonged trills in measures 34 and 52-54. The characteristic chromatic ornaments, in measures 7, 25, 36, and 50, often subdivide the beats in a syncopated fashion in contrast with the steady triplets in the left hand.
Of this nocturne, Niecks wrote:
The second nocturne (in E flat major) differs in form from the other nocturnes in…that it has no contrasting second section, the melody flowing onward from beginning to end in a uniform manner. The monotony of the unrelieved sentimentality does not fail to make itself felt. One is seized by an ever-increasing longing to get out of this oppressive atmosphere, to feel the fresh breezes and warm sunshine, to see smiling faces and the many-coloured dress of Nature, to hear the rustling of leaves, the murmuring of streams, and voices which have not yet lost the clear, sonorous ring that joy in the present and hope in the future impart.
The second and third duets of the ballet In the Night by Jerome Robbins (1970) were choreographed to this music.
Chopin – Nocturne in E flat major, Op. 55 No. 2