Recorded on 12/31/1969, uploaded on 11/04/2009
Musician's or Publisher's Notes
Recorded in 1937. Transferred from a 78 rpm record.
On November 29th, 1830, Polish cadets, weary of Imperial Russia’s many offenses against the Polish constitution, stole arms from their garrison and by the following day had forced Russian troops to withdraw from the city of Warsaw. This event sparked the November Uprising which lasted for nearly a year. Frédéric Chopin had left Warsaw only a few weeks before the outbreak for Vienna with the intention of later going on to Italy. When news of the Uprising reached Chopin in Vienna, his friend and travelling companion, Tytus Woyciechowski, turned back to enlist in the Polish cause. The conflict was the cause of much anxiety for Chopin, particularly the safety of his family back in Poland. During his trip from Vienna to Paris in September 1831, word reached him that the rebellion had been crushed. Chopin let out a violent torrent of emotions to the point of cursing the French for not coming to the aid of the Polish and wondering if God himself was Russian. These sentiments soon found a musical outlet in the “Revolutionary” Etude. In modern times, it was the last piece of music heard on free Polish radio before the Nazis invaded Poland.
The last of a set of twelve etudes published as his opus 10 and dedicated to Franz Liszt, the “Revolutionary” Etude goes far beyond the simple didactic purpose of an etude to a full-fledged concert piece. Opening with the harmony of a dominant minor ninth, the left hand executes a whirlwind of rapidly descending sixteenth notes to which the right hand later joins. At the conclusion of this torrential introduction and settling into the tonic chord of C minor, the right hand, in brilliant octaves, announces the theme of the etude over sweeping arpeggios. Grief-stricken, the theme is nevertheless pushed relentlessly onward. Following the conclusion of the theme’s second statement, a brief middle section ensues passing through a myriad of chromatic harmonies. Venturing as far away as C-sharp minor within only a few measures, Chopin nevertheless returns seamlessly back to the tonic key and eventually the introductory dominant minor ninth harmony. A varied statement of the theme is given, which passes this time to a coda. Though the relentless sixteenth notes of the left hand do not vanish, the coda gradually begins to ebb away. Quietly, the music ultimately resolves into C major before one final outburst of descending sixteenth notes leads to the final full-voiced cadence. Joseph DuBose
That's actually in c-sharp minor. And if you're doing it with the left hand only, you're actually performing Leopold Godowsky's Study on Chopin's Etude Op. 10 No. 12.
Nice performance, anyway.
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