Chopin: Nocturne in E-flat Major

This is probably one of the best-known and best-loved out of all Chopin's nocturnes - rightly so. Although it has been overplayed to death, and although several performances suffer from excruciatingly slow tempi, no one can deny its elegance and charm.

The architecture is straightfoward enough: an A section which repeats, followed by a B section, then A again, then B, and a coda, in a form technically known as rounded binary. Chopin's genius lies in keeping the same harmonic foundation in each repeated section while progressively ornamenting the melody, finding ways to keep it fresh and exciting every time it returns. Finally, elements of both themes in the A and B sections are combined into a wonderful coda (listen for them!), becoming increasingly agitated until reaching an impassioned dominant, prepared by a c-flat anticipation held for an almost ridiculous amount of time.

Almost - Chopin, as well as Beethoven, is a master at reaching the fine line separating drama and melodrama, pathos and sentimentality, without going over the edge. The famous cadenza - a four-note motif marked senza tempo during which time stands still - repeats faster and faster, more and more insistent, until finally relenting, and finding its way back to a tender, emotional reconciliation with the tonic.


Youtube Music Channel

One of my hobbies is playing piano, and recently I bought the equipment to record sound from my electric piano. I own a Yamaha CLP-320 series, which has been an excellent piano and has held up remarkably well for the past three years.

The first recording uploaded from this piano is a nocturne by Chopin in B-flat minor,  opus 9, #1. I have had it in my repertoire for quite a while now, and it still remains my favorite nocturne out of all of them. I plan to upload more recordings with some regularity (e.g., every week or two), so be sure to check out the channel often to see what's new. Subscribing (or even just "liking") is a great way to help me out.

One feature of my videos is annotations which highlight certain interesting parts of the piece, such as important key modulations, any historical background that might be significant, and so on. I also think it looks cool when Chopin spits facts about his music. My goal is for it to be edifying rather than distracting; time will tell whether the public likes it or not.

Anyway, here's a link to the video. Enjoy!

[Edit 07.08.2012]: I removed the annotations, because I eventually found them distracting. Any notes will be placed in the "Description" box, as soon as I convince the recording companies that this indeed my own original work, and not a copy.