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‘After the introduction the remainder of the piece consists of a rolling, quaver bass constructed from arpeggio or broken chord figurations over which a an exquisite right hand melody prevails. The melody, similar to that in many of Chopin’s Nocturnes, has a wonderful operatic quality which could be viewed as the ‘singer’ and left hand or bass clef part (the accompaniment), as the ‘accompanist’, therefore, the pianist has to engage in being both, effectively occupying both roles at once!

There are three layers of sound in this work;

1. The melodic material in the right hand.

2. The broken chord quaver figurations in the left hand.

3. The bottom of the chord in the bass line which is generally the first quaver of every minim group which occur twice in every bar (generally).

It’s always worthwhile practising the left hand alone because it requires absolute consistency and evenness with regard to rhythm and tone. This work does not benefit from being over pedalled or from too much rubato. Rubato (or taking time) is a feature of Chopin’s music generally, but even the composer himself always insisted on a rhythmical bass proclaiming, ‘The left hand is the conductor of the orchestra.’

Singing this song in my choir, a lovely secular tune.

Just experienced this last Friday.  Wow, what a musical ride.  The fifth movement is likened to be from the underworld after a drug addled protagonist imagines himself executed for the murder of his love interest.

Love the Dies Irae motif. :)

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