The Piano Sonata No 1 in C minor Op 4 was written while Chopin was still studying with Elsner at the Warsaw Conservatoire. It is generally reckoned to be one of his least successful compositions. There are no reviews or reports of it ever having been played in the nineteenth century, let alone by the composer. This work exhibits little of Chopin’s unique later style and is an effortful attempt to struggle with formal sonata structure. The opening Allegro, pianists will tell you, is technically awkward. Interest picks up in the pretty but derivative Minuet only to be quelled by the meandering Larghetto in 5/4. Perhaps the most successful movement is the Presto finale, almost a moto perpetuo in its constant quaver motion.
from notes by Jeremy Nicholas © 2008