The Première Ballade
Op 117 No 1, in D flat major, owes rather more to a Chopin nocturne than a Chopin ballade. After four introductory measures, Herz introduces a cantabile theme of a type familiar from the preceding Nocturnes
, but this time given in octaves. It is sentimental, effective and not too difficult (though the more animated central section in F minor might give some pause), a prime example of the kind of work that made Herz’s music sell in unrivalled quantities in the 1830s and ’40s.
from notes by Jeremy Nicholas © 2008