Episode 104: Chopin and Mozart

Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor, Op. 21 (ii.)

rc-mozart-200Chopin cared for only two composers: Bach and Mozart. Chopin cared for only two instruments: The piano and the human voice. It was the human voice that drew Chopin to Mozart.

Opera was popular and profitable in Chopin’s Europe. He was under enormous pressure to compose one. As much as Chopin adored opera-going, he refused to enter the house as a composer. Mozart provided Chopin an escape hatch. His operas earned Chopin’s devotion, but Mozart’s brilliant writing demonstrated any instrument could sing—Chopin’s goal of goals for solo piano.

Fold in counterpoint—melody introduced while melody’s engine is already running. Song on top of song. Pianist and music writer Charles Rosen declared, “Chopin was the greatest master of counterpoint since Mozart.”

In 1832, Chopin gave his first concert in Paris. Two works: His Variations on Mozart’s “La ci darem la mano” and this, his Piano Concerto No. 2. The reviewers declared it “the rebirth of piano music.”

Ten years later, too sick to get out of bed, Chopin had Mozart on his mind. He mused he might only have three years left to live. He had seven. At Chopin’s request, the three thousand people who attended his funeral gained comfort from Mozart’s Requiem as it filled the Madeleine.

Early bloomings, untimely deaths, prolific output, profound originality, the cursed blessing of genius…Chopin must have gained comfort from Mozart as well. - Jennifer Foster

Radio Chopin Episode 104: Chopin and Mozart



Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor, op. 21 (ii.)




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