The Chopin Fantasie Impromptu

The Composition

Frederic Chopin (Poland, 1810 - 1849) was a romantic composer and virtuoso pianist. In 1834, he wrote his Fantasie Impromptu in C-sharp minor, Op. posth. 66. It is a solo piano composition that Chopin dedicated to Julian Fontana who published it despite Chopin's request not to do so. It became one of Chopin's most popular and most frequently performed compositions.

Tiffany Poon, now 17, was just 11 years old at the time of this performance of the Chopin Fantasie Impromptu in November 2008 at the Great Hall, Krannert Center at Urbana-Champaign, USA Illinois.

Evgeny Kissin, Piano

Verbier Festival 2004

Vladimir Horowitz, Piano

There are many speculations why Chopin did not publish it in the first place, one of which is that he might have simply overlooked it. Another speculation suggests that it is too much related to Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata (composed 1801) and that therefore Chopin did not like to publish it.

Particularity of the Chopin Fantasie Impromptu

The Fantasie Impromptu as well as the Moonlight Sonata are both composed in C-sharp minor. The abrupt run up and down of notes just two measures after the melody begins of the Fantasie Impromptu has exactly the same notes as the Cadenza (virtuoso passage) in the 3rd movement of the Moonlight Sonata. The middle part of the Fantasie Impromptu as well as the 2nd movement of the Moonlight Sonata are both in D-flat minor.

The Fantasie Impromptu could be seen as the proof that Chopin understood Beethoven to a degree that no one ever had before. It could be Chopin's disclosure of what he hears in the Moonlight Sonata.

The Fantasie Impromptu uses many cross-rhythms, specifically the right hand playing sixteenth notes while the left hand plays triplets in an allegro agitato tempo. The middle part in D-flat major has the tempi largo and moderato cantabile. The third part which is like the beginning in C-sharp minor ends in an ambiguous fantasy-like ending in a quiet and mysterious way, where the left hand replays the first few notes of the moderato section theme while the right hand continues playing sixteenth notes. The piece resolves and gently ends on a C-sharp major rolled chord.

The composer Frederic Chopin

Frederic Chopin is considered as one of the most popular and most influential pianists and composers of piano works. His father was French, his mother Polish and he grew up in Warsaw, Poland. His mother introduced to him the piano but noticed very soon his talent.... more

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