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Vladimir Horowitz 1950 / Chopin Piano Sonata No. 2 in B-flat minor, Op. 35 “Funeral March”: unique musical moments



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Vladimir Horowitz 1950 / Chopin Piano Sonata No. 2 in B-flat minor, Op. 35 “Funeral March”

Vladimir Horowitz 1950
Chopin
Piano Sonata No. 2 in B-flat minor, Op. 35 “Funeral March”

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Chopin, 1835

Frédéric Chopin‘s Piano Sonata No. 2 in B-flat minor, Op. 35, popularly known as The Funeral March, was completed in 1839 at Nohant, near Châteauroux in France. However, the third movement, whence comes the sonata’s common nickname, had been composed as early as 1837.

The sonata comprises four movements:

  1. Grave – Doppio movimento

  2. Scherzo

  3. Marche funèbre: Lento

  4. Finale: Presto

Funeral march

As noted above, the third movement is structured as a funeral march played with a Lento interlude. While the term “funeral march” is perhaps a fitting description of the 3rd movement, complete with the Lento Interlude in D-flat major, the expression “Chopin’s Funeral March” is used commonly to describe only the funeral march proper (in B-flat minor).

It was transcribed for full orchestra in 1933 by the English composer Sir Edward Elgar (in D minor), and its first performance was at his own memorial concert the next year. It was also transcribed for large orchestra by the conductor Leopold Stokowski; this version was recorded for the first time by Matthias Bamert.

The emotive “funeral march” has become well known in popular culture. It was used at the state funerals of John F. Kennedy, Sir Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher and those of Soviet leaders, including Leonid Brezhnev. It was also played in the funeral of the Spanish poet Miguel Hernández and at thegraveside during Chopin’s own burial at Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.

 

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