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Chopin wrote four Sonatas. Three for piano solo and one for piano and cello. Chopin's sonatas, and especially his opus 35 has been the target of much abuse or which can be traced to Schumann's remark that Chopin had here yoked together four of his maddest children under the same roof. The traditional Sonata form of A-B-A is in fact a very Germanish tradition and plays a relatively minor role in the development of music in France, Italy, Spain, Russia and much of the eastern Europe.

Sonata No.2 in B-flat minor, Op.35

Chopin composed his Piano Sonata No. 2 in B-flat minor, Op. 35 ("Funeral March") mainly in 1839 at Nohant near Chateauroux in France, although the funeral march third movement had been composed as early as 1837.

The sonata consists of four movements.

1. Grave; Doppio movimento
2. Scherzo
3. Marche funèbre: Lento
4. Finale: Presto

The first movement features a stormy opening theme and a gently lyrical second theme. The second contains a calmer, more relaxed melodic theme. The third movement begins and ends with the celebrated funeral march in B flat minor which gives the sonata its nickname, but has a calm interlude in D flat major. The finale contains a whirlwind of unison notes with unremitting (not a single rest or chord until the final bars) unvarying tempo or dynamics (changes of volume); James Huneker, in his introduction to the American version of Mikuli edition of the Sonatas, quotes Chopin as saying "The left hand unisono with the right hand are gossiping after the March". Others have remarked that the fourth movement is "wind howling around the gravestones".

Piano Gathering in Boston, 3:rd of May in 2008,
Including 4:th movement of Op.25 (VIDEO)
Smullyan, R.
Stavreva, T.
Tedeschi, S.

Complete recording by Eric Clark
Grave; Doppio movimento
Marche funebre: Lento
Finale: Presto

Complete recording by Ken Sasaki.
Grave; Doppio movimento
Marche funèbre: Lento
Finale: Presto

Sonata No.3 in B minor, Op.58

Frédéric Chopin composed his Piano Sonata No. 3 in B minor, Op. 58 in 1844. His last sonata for piano solo, it has been suggested that this was his attempt to address the criticisms of his earlier sonata Op. 35.

The sonata consists of four movements, similar in structure to the second sonata, with a lyrical largo replacing the funeral march.

1. Allegro maestoso
2. Scherzo: Molto vivace
3. Largo
4. Finale: Presto non tanto; Agitato

The work opens on a martial note, the heavy chords and filigree in the opening of the first movement giving way to a more melodic second theme, eventually leading to the conclusion of the exposition in the dominant key of F-sharp major. A glimpse of the original theme emerges towards the beginning of the development, which, unconventionally, returns to the second theme (as opposed to the first) for the recapitulation. The movement concludes in B major.

The scherzo, in the distant key of E flat and in strict ternary form, characterised by ebullient quaver runs in the right hand, with a more demure chordal middle section. Unlike the scherzo of the B-flat minor sonata (and, indeed, the rest of Chopin's contributions to the genre outside of the sonatas), it is exceptionally short, barely lasting two minutes in an average performance.

Despite a stormy introduction in dotted rhythm, the largo is serene, almost nocturne-like; a mellow and expansive middle section, again characterised by quaver figuration in the background of an intensely harmonic line, separates the more cantabile outer sections in B major. It is the most musically profound of the movements (Kraemer, 1991), in terms of a sustained melody and innovative harmonic progression; it rivals the extensive first movement in length alone.

Its dramatic introduction, a rising harmonic progression left hanging on a high dominant seventh, aside the finale in B minor, is pervaded by a "galloping" rhythm, emphasis in the melodic line on the first and third beats of each half-measure outlines the fifth through eighth degrees of a harmonic minor scale (lending prominence to the augmented second between the sixth and seventh scale degrees). The overall melody, chromatic yet rooted in the minor tonic, contribute a dark mood to these primary sections. A more triumphant second theme in B major, repeated twice in the movement's A-B-A-B-A form, appears quite suddenly at the conclusion of the first (likewise when repeated), eventually rising during fleet-fingered runs over a left-hand melody, it tumbles back to a dramatic restatement of the main theme in both of its appearances. The piece concludes in a jubilant B major coda.

Complete recording by Richard Pohl
Sonata No.3 Op.58

Words by the performer Bar-Niv, R..
The sonata was recorded in the Jerusalem IBA radio studios in the 1970s. The only way I could get my hands on the recording in those days was to record it off the radio broadcast... The 1st movement didn't make it... too poor a quality.

Scherzo: Molto Vivace
Bar-Niv, R.
Bar-Niv, R.
Finale: Presto
Bar-Niv, R.

Jan 7, 2016
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