Chopin – Scherzo No. 2, Op. 31 (Rubinstein)

July 5, 2013

NOTE: Have fun following this score. Count each measure as one beat.  Wikipedia explains: Scherzo.

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Scherzo No. 2, Op. 31

Arthur Rubinstein, piano

The Scherzo No. 2 in B-Flat Minor, Op. 31 is a scherzo by Frédéric Chopin. The work was composed and published in 1837, and was dedicated to Countess Adele Fürstensein. Schumann compared this scherzo to a Byronic poem, “so overflowing with tenderness, boldness, love and contempt.” According to Wilhelm von Lenz, a pupil of Chopin, the composer said that the renowned sotto voce opening was a question and the second phrase the answer: “For Chopin it was never questioning enough, never soft enough, never vaulted (tombe) enough. It must be a charnel-house.” The melody, marked “con anima,” is repeated three times during the lengthy proceedings, the last time bringing us to the coda in a magnificent key change. The gorgeous melody overlies a six-note-per-measure left-hand accompaniment of exceeding richness. The trio, filled with longing, takes on a pianistic complexity. Huneker exults, “What masterly writing, and it lies in the very heart of the piano! A hundred generations may not improve on these pages.” The scherzo is in sonata form. The beginning is marked Presto and opens in B flat minor. However, most of the work is written in D flat major and A major. The opening to the piece consists of two arpeggiated pianissimo chords, and after a moment’s pause, goes into a set of fortissimo chords, before returning to the quiet arpeggiated chords