Rainy’s classical things, part one: Chopin’s sweet stuff

“Nocturne in E flat, op. 9 no. 2” by Frédéric Chopin |  Rainy Martini, your resident pianist writing for Classical Week! From today until Friday, I will write about a few pieces from waaaay back that you should hear. This is also Niko’s introduction to classical music, since I promised I’d give him a little teaching. Here’s a Chopin to sweeten your Monday up: a 183-year-old nocturne. One of the most popular pieces from the Romantic era, and my all-time favorite as well. I play this during my birthdays, from my 8th year onward. I would say that this particular nocturne’s bass (left-hand notes) has a waltz-like quality to it. To the untrained ear it might even fall to the “slow waltz” category, what with the tempo being andante and all. Well, the piece is glide-y enough for a waltz, but it’s too soft and dreamy. It is, after all, a nocturne; music for the evenings. Could even pass as a lullaby. Chopin nocturnes all have this distinctive song-like melody in the right-hand notes. Decorated with trills, grace notes, crescendos and tempo changes. The climax is, of course, towards the final bars of the piece. Just like the ballads of today. It ends with two pairs of chords played in pianissimo possibile, as if putting the piano to sleep. (Tomorrow: a literally jumpy modern piece.)

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