on Feb 24th, 2009Frédéric Chopin Andante spianato et Grande Polonaise brillante Op. 22 in E flat major
Andante spianato et Grande Polonaise brillante in E-flat major, Op. 22, was composed by Frédéric Chopin between 1830 and 1834. The Grande Polonaise brillante in E-flat, set for piano and orchestra, was written first, in 1830-31. In 1834, Chopin wrote an Andante spianato in G, for piano solo, which he added to the start of the piece, and joined the two parts with a fanfare-like sequence. The combined work was published in 1836 as Op. 22, and was dedicated to Madame d’Este.
The Grande Polonaise brillante is a work for piano and orchestra, although the piano part is often played on its own. This is usually considered to be Chopin’s most difficult piece for piano. The Andante spianato (spianato means “even, or smooth”) for solo piano was composed as an introduction to the Polonaise after Chopin received a long-awaited invitation to perform in one of Habaneck’s Conservatoire Concerts in Paris. The combined work was premiered by the composer there on April 26, 1835.
Chopin’s first work, written at age seven, had been a polonaise. The Grande Polonaise brillante of 1830-31 was to be the last such he would compose for several years. It preoccupied Chopin in his final months at Warsaw. It was finished at Vienna in 1831.
Andante spianato in G major
The quiet rippling effects of this introductory section are borne in a gentle 6/8, rounded with a chordal trio in C major, and a more processional 3/4. The very serene middle section is not a trio, but only a contrasting episode to complement the overall texture of the movement. Not being a trio, it is not in C major but remains in G major.
Grande Polonaise brillante in E-flat major
The Polonaise opens in fanfare. It moves into the ebullient and fearless dance form of which he was such a master. Chopin’s unexpected and brief excursions, the many electric shocks of surprise and alarm, and the sheer poetic gusto with which he approached these materials was astonishing and, for years, unequalled. In 1836 it was arranged as a piano quartet and, two years later, the solo piano work known today.
Consequently the polonaise has been regarded as one of the most famous and brilliant polonaise pieces.