Hyperion Records

Twenty-four Preludes, Op 28
composer
begun in 1836; complete on 22 January 1839

Recordings
'Chopin: Preludes' (CKD475)
Chopin: Preludes
CKD475  Download only 20 October 2014 Release  
'Chopin: Preludes & Impromptus' (CDH55383)
Chopin: Preludes & Impromptus
MP3 £2.50FLAC £2.50ALAC £2.50Buy by post £5.50 CDH55383  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)   Download currently discounted
'Chopin: The Complete Works' (CDS44351/66)
Chopin: The Complete Works
MP3 £45.00FLAC £45.00ALAC £45.00Buy by post £50.00 CDS44351/66  16CDs Boxed set (at a special price)  
'Chopin: Preludes, Fantaisie & Berceuse' (CDA66324)
Chopin: Preludes, Fantaisie & Berceuse
'Viktor Merzhanov – Chopin, Liszt & Scriabin' (APR5671)
Viktor Merzhanov – Chopin, Liszt & Scriabin
MP3 £6.99FLAC £6.99ALAC £6.99 APR5671  Download only  
'Moriz Rosenthal – The complete recordings' (APR7503)
Moriz Rosenthal – The complete recordings
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'Michael Zadora – The complete recordings' (APR6008)
Michael Zadora – The complete recordings
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'The Piano G & Ts, Vol. 1 – Vladimir de Pachmann, Aleksander Michalowski & Landon Ronald' (APR5531)
The Piano G & Ts, Vol. 1 – Vladimir de Pachmann, Aleksander Michalowski & Landon Ronald
MP3 £6.99FLAC £6.99ALAC £6.99 APR5531  Download only  
'Percy Grainger – The complete 78-rpm solo recordings' (APR7501)
Percy Grainger – The complete 78-rpm solo recordings
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'York Bowen – The complete solo 78-rpm recordings' (APR6007)
York Bowen – The complete solo 78-rpm recordings
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'A Matthay Miscellany – Rare and unissued recordings by Tobias Matthay and his pupils' (APR6014)
A Matthay Miscellany – Rare and unissued recordings by Tobias Matthay and his pupils
MP3 £7.99FLAC £7.99ALAC £7.99 APR6014  for the price of 1 — Download only  
'Casals Encores' (CDA67831)
Casals Encores
'Alfred Cortot – The Late Recordings, Vol. 3 – Chopin & Mendelssohn' (APR5573)
Alfred Cortot – The Late Recordings, Vol. 3 – Chopin & Mendelssohn
MP3 £6.99FLAC £6.99ALAC £6.99 APR5573  Download only  
'Irene Scharrer – The complete electric and selected acoustic recordings' (APR6010)
Irene Scharrer – The complete electric and selected acoustic recordings
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'The Piano G & Ts, Vol. 4 – Diémer, Eibenschütz, Hofmann & Backhaus' (APR5534)
The Piano G & Ts, Vol. 4 – Diémer, Eibenschütz, Hofmann & Backhaus
MP3 £6.99FLAC £6.99ALAC £6.99 APR5534  Download only  
Details
No 01 in C major: Agitato
Track 1 on CKD475 [0'39] Download only 20 October 2014 Release
Track 20 on APR5534 [0'42] Download only
Track 1 on APR5671 [0'37] Download only
Track 6 on APR7503 CD2 [0'33] Download only
Track 1 on CDA66324 [0'43] Archive Service
Track 1 on CDH55383 [0'38] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Track 1 on CDS44351/66 CD2 [0'38] 16CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
No 02 in A minor: Lento
Track 2 on CKD475 [2'22] Download only 20 October 2014 Release
Track 2 on APR5671 [2'09] Download only
Track 2 on CDA66324 [1'57] Archive Service
Track 2 on CDH55383 [2'19] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Track 2 on CDS44351/66 CD2 [2'19] 16CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
No 03 in G major: Vivace
Track 3 on CKD475 [1'08] Download only 20 October 2014 Release
Track 3 on APR5671 [0'52] Download only
Track 8 on APR6007 CD2 [0'55] for the price of 1 — Download only
Track 7 on APR7503 CD2 [0'55] Download only
Track 3 on APR7503 CD4 [1'04] Download only
Track 3 on CDA66324 [1'01] Archive Service
Track 3 on CDH55383 [0'59] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Track 3 on CDS44351/66 CD2 [0'59] 16CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
No 04 in E minor: Largo
Track 4 on CKD475 [2'02] Download only 20 October 2014 Release
Track 4 on APR5671 [1'55] Download only
Track 4 on CDA66324 [2'03] Archive Service
Track 4 on CDH55383 [2'25] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Track 4 on CDS44351/66 CD2 [2'25] 16CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
No 05 in D major: Allegro molto
Track 5 on CKD475 [0'38] Download only 20 October 2014 Release
Track 5 on APR5671 [0'31] Download only
Track 5 on CDA66324 [0'38] Archive Service
Track 5 on CDH55383 [0'40] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Track 5 on CDS44351/66 CD2 [0'40] 16CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
No 06 in B minor: Lento assai
Track 6 on CKD475 [2'32] Download only 20 October 2014 Release
Track 6 on APR5671 [2'06] Download only
Track 18 on APR6008 CD1 [1'26] for the price of 1 — Download only
Track 5 on APR7503 CD1 [2'16] Download only
Track 9 on APR7503 CD1 [2'19] Download only
Track 25 on APR7503 CD1 [2'15] Download only
Track 28 on APR7503 CD1 [2'16] Download only
Track 2 on APR7503 CD4 [2'07] Download only
Track 6 on CDA66324 [2'05] Archive Service
Track 6 on CDH55383 [2'30] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Track 6 on CDS44351/66 CD2 [2'30] 16CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
No 07 in A major: Andantino
Track 7 on CKD475 [0'57] Download only 20 October 2014 Release
Track 23 on APR5531 [1'28] Download only
Track 7 on APR5671 [0'51] Download only
Track 19 on APR6008 CD1 [0'47] for the price of 1 — Download only
Track 7 on APR7503 CD1 [0'50] Download only
Track 11 on APR7503 CD1 [0'51] Download only
Track 26 on APR7503 CD1 [0'52] Download only
Track 29 on APR7503 CD1 [0'53] Download only
Track 4 on APR7503 CD4 [0'51] Download only
Track 7 on CDA66324 [0'43] Archive Service
Track 7 on CDH55383 [1'12] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Track 7 on CDS44351/66 CD2 [1'12] 16CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
No 08 in F sharp minor: Molto agitato
Track 8 on CKD475 [1'51] Download only 20 October 2014 Release
Track 8 on APR5671 [1'36] Download only
Track 13 on APR6010 CD2 [2'07] for the price of 1 — Download only
Track 8 on CDA66324 [2'13] Archive Service
Track 8 on CDH55383 [2'00] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Track 8 on CDS44351/66 CD2 [2'00] 16CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
No 09 in E major: Largo
Track 9 on CKD475 [1'31] Download only 20 October 2014 Release
Track 9 on APR5671 [1'19] Download only
Track 9 on CDA66324 [1'29] Archive Service
Track 9 on CDH55383 [1'19] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Track 9 on CDS44351/66 CD2 [1'19] 16CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
No 10 in C sharp minor: Allegro molto
Track 10 on CKD475 [0'35] Download only 20 October 2014 Release
Track 10 on APR5671 [0'33] Download only
Track 10 on CDA66324 [0'35] Archive Service
Track 10 on CDH55383 [0'25] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Track 10 on CDS44351/66 CD2 [0'25] 16CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
No 11 in B major: Vivace
Track 11 on CKD475 [0'41] Download only 20 October 2014 Release
Track 11 on APR5671 [0'37] Download only
Track 6 on APR7503 CD1 [0'33] Download only
Track 10 on APR7503 CD1 [0'32] Download only
Track 11 on CDA66324 [0'47] Archive Service
Track 11 on CDH55383 [0'43] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Track 11 on CDS44351/66 CD2 [0'43] 16CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
No 12 in G sharp minor: Presto
Track 12 on CKD475 [1'20] Download only 20 October 2014 Release
Track 12 on APR5671 [1'04] Download only
Track 12 on CDA66324 [1'24] Archive Service
Track 12 on CDH55383 [1'11] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Track 12 on CDS44351/66 CD2 [1'11] 16CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
No 13 in F sharp major: Lento
Track 13 on CKD475 [3'36] Download only 20 October 2014 Release
Track 13 on APR5671 [3'22] Download only
Track 20 on APR6008 CD1 [2'37] for the price of 1 — Download only
Track 17 on APR7503 CD4 [3'26] Download only
Track 13 on CDA66324 [3'03] Archive Service
Track 13 on CDH55383 [3'49] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Track 13 on CDS44351/66 CD2 [3'49] 16CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
No 14 in E flat minor: Allegro
Track 14 on CKD475 [0'31] Download only 20 October 2014 Release
Track 14 on APR5671 [0'25] Download only
Track 14 on CDA66324 [0'39] Archive Service
Track 14 on CDH55383 [0'29] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Track 14 on CDS44351/66 CD2 [0'29] 16CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
No 14 in E flat minor: Largo
Track 25 on CDH55383 [1'08] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Track 25 on CDS44351/66 CD2 [1'08] 16CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
No 15 in D flat major 'Raindrop': Sostenuto
Track 15 on CKD475 [5'59] Download only 20 October 2014 Release
Track 11 on APR5573 [4'34] Download only
Track 15 on APR5671 [5'34] Download only
Track 15 on CDA66324 [6'14] Archive Service
arranger

Track 15 on CDH55383 [5'41] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Track 15 on CDS44351/66 CD2 [5'41] 16CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
No 16 in B flat minor: Presto con fuoco
Track 16 on CKD475 [1'10] Download only 20 October 2014 Release
Track 16 on APR5671 [1'07] Download only
Track 16 on CDA66324 [1'18] Archive Service
Track 16 on CDH55383 [1'08] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Track 16 on CDS44351/66 CD2 [1'08] 16CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
No 17 in A flat major: Allegretto
Track 17 on CKD475 [3'12] Download only 20 October 2014 Release
Track 17 on APR5671 [3'37] Download only
Track 10 on APR7501 CD1 [4'16] Download only
Track 11 on APR7501 CD1 [4'25] Download only
Track 9 on APR7501 CD4 [4'06] Download only
Track 17 on CDA66324 [3'25] Archive Service
Track 17 on CDH55383 [3'40] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Track 17 on CDS44351/66 CD2 [3'40] 16CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
No 18 in F minor: Allegro molto
Track 18 on CKD475 [1'05] Download only 20 October 2014 Release
Track 18 on APR5671 [0'54] Download only
Track 18 on CDA66324 [0'59] Archive Service
Track 18 on CDH55383 [1'05] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Track 18 on CDS44351/66 CD2 [1'05] 16CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
No 19 in E flat major: Vivace
Track 19 on CKD475 [1'34] Download only 20 October 2014 Release
Track 19 on APR5671 [1'20] Download only
Track 8 on APR7503 CD2 [1'17] Download only
Track 19 on CDA66324 [1'30] Archive Service
Track 19 on CDH55383 [1'16] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Track 19 on CDS44351/66 CD2 [1'16] 16CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
No 20 in C minor: Largo
Track 20 on CKD475 [1'48] Download only 20 October 2014 Release
Track 22 on APR5531 [1'40] Download only
Track 20 on APR5671 [1'45] Download only
Track 7 on APR6007 CD2 [1'50] for the price of 1 — Download only
Track 5 on APR7503 CD2 [1'21] Download only
Track 20 on CDA66324 [1'48] Archive Service
Track 20 on CDH55383 [1'45] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Track 20 on CDS44351/66 CD2 [1'45] 16CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
No 21 in B flat major: Cantabile
Track 21 on CKD475 [2'00] Download only 20 October 2014 Release
Track 21 on APR5671 [1'52] Download only
Track 21 on CDA66324 [1'59] Archive Service
Track 21 on CDH55383 [1'51] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Track 21 on CDS44351/66 CD2 [1'51] 16CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
No 22 in G minor: Molto agitato
Track 22 on CKD475 [0'46] Download only 20 October 2014 Release
Track 7 on APR5531 [0'43] Download only
Track 22 on APR5671 [0'41] Download only
Track 22 on CDA66324 [0'57] Archive Service
Track 22 on CDH55383 [0'52] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Track 22 on CDS44351/66 CD2 [0'52] 16CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
No 23 in F major: Moderato
Track 23 on CKD475 [1'33] Download only 20 October 2014 Release
Track 8 on APR5531 [0'55] Download only
Track 23 on APR5671 [1'10] Download only
Track 6 on APR6007 CD2 [0'59] for the price of 1 — Download only
Track 21 on APR6008 CD1 [0'43] for the price of 1 — Download only
Track 8 on APR6014 CD1 [0'54] for the price of 1 — Download only
Track 8 on APR7503 CD1 [0'52] Download only
Track 12 on APR7503 CD1 [0'49] Download only
Track 23 on CDA66324 [0'50] Archive Service
Track 23 on CDH55383 [1'14] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Track 23 on CDS44351/66 CD2 [1'14] 16CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
No 24 in D minor: Allegro appassionato
Track 24 on CKD475 [2'35] Download only 20 October 2014 Release
Track 24 on APR5671 [2'21] Download only
Track 24 on CDA66324 [3'04] Archive Service
Track 24 on CDH55383 [2'30] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Track 24 on CDS44351/66 CD2 [2'30] 16CDs Boxed set (at a special price)

Twenty-four Preludes, Op 28
In the early nineteenth century, preludes were associated above all with improvisation, and they often preceded works of more specific construction, such as fugues or suites. Traditionally, the improvised prelude was designed to test the instrument (especially its tuning), and to give practice in the key and mood of the piece to follow. Collections of composed preludes, usually ordered according to various principles of key sequence, were common at the time. However, we should note that such collections were designed as ready-made introductions to works rather than as cycles. They were above all for the use of musicians who were not especially fluent in improvised preluding. This also explains why the preludes in these collections were ordered according to key: so that a suitable prelude could always be found for any given work. This function is confirmed by the titles, as for example in Hummel’s Vorspiele vor Anfänge eines Stükes [sic] aus allen Dur und mol [sic] Tonarten, Op 67 (c1814/15) or Cramer’s Twenty-Six Preludes or Short Introductions in the Principal Major & Minor Keys (1818).

There is some evidence that Chopin may occasionally have used his own preludes as introductions to his larger compositions, but this was not his normal practice. Mainly he performed them as self-contained works, individually or in small groups, and for this reason we can reasonably claim that he re-defined the generic term. The Op 28 cycle consists of a succession of miniatures of great emotional power and unrivalled artistic quality. They retain an outward similarity to traditional collections of preludes, in their tonal sequence, epigrammatic dimensions, monothematicism and openness of form, but they actually initiate a quite separate tradition of concert preludes that would be further developed in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Unlike their predecessors, Chopin’s preludes demand to be treated as ‘works’ of weight and significance rather than as written-out improvisations, and they achieve something close to perfection of form within the framework of the miniature, the relationship of substance to scale expertly gauged. Contemporaries were confused by this departure from tradition, and not only contemporaries: ‘I must admit that I do not wholly understand the title that Chopin chose to give these short pieces’, was André Gide’s comment. ‘Preludes to what?’, he went on to ask.

As far as we can tell, most of the Op 28 preludes were composed in Paris during 1838, and the cycle was completed during the ill-fated winter of 1838–9 that Chopin spent on Majorca with the novelist George Sand. A piano had been sent to the island expressly for the purpose, and on 22 January 1839 Chopin was able to write to Camille Pleyel: ‘I am sending you my Préludes. I finished them on your little piano, which arrived in the best possible condition in spite of the sea, the bad weather and the Palma customs.’ It is no doubt significant that Chopin took the Well-Tempered Clavier with him to Majorca, for that great work provides the most helpful context for his own cycle. Much of the figuration in Chopin’s preludes has origins in JS Bach. There are moto perpetuo patterns, as in Nos 11 (a kind of three-part invention), 14 and 19; subtly constructed figurations that allow linear elements to emerge through the pattern, as in the ‘trill’ motives of Nos 1 and 5; characteristic contrapuntal figures made up of discrete though interactive particles, as in Nos 1 and 8; and bolder contrapuntal polarities, as in the dialogue of melody and ‘singing’ bass in No 9, or the dual function of the bass as harmonic support and melodic (polyphonic) line in No 6. All this is part of a larger debt to Bach the contrapuntalist. But formally, too, the preludes evoke Baroque practice: by crystallizing a single Affekt in a single pattern and unfolding either in a ternary design (Nos 15 and 17) or as a simple statement with conflated response (Nos 3 and 12).

Each prelude of Op 28 is itself a whole, with its own Affekt, its own melodic, harmonic and rhythmic profile, and even its own generic character: thus at various times Chopin invokes the nocturne (No 13), étude (No 16), mazurka (No 7), funeral march (No 2) and elegy (No 4). Yet at the same time, the individual preludes make up a single over-arching whole, a real cycle that is enriched by the complementary characters of its components and integrated by the special logic of their ordering. From a purely formal viewpoint, that ordering is determined above all by the tonal scheme. But arguments have been ventured for a deeper unity based on motivic links between the preludes, extensive enough to justify describing the work in its entirety as an extended, organically conceived cycle. Whatever the truth of that, Op 28 remains an utterly unique achievement, albeit one with a legacy. Later composers were happy to follow Chopin’s lead in broadening the generic meaning of the prelude, as in the sets by Scriabin, Fauré, Rachmaninov and Szymanowski. Of special significance are the two books of preludes by Debussy, the composer who, more than any other, translated Chopin’s achievement into the language of twentieth-century pianism, just as Chopin himself had translated Bach’s equal-voiced counterpoint into what Carl Schachter once aptly called a ‘free, idiomatically pianistic counterpoint’.

from notes by Jim Samson © 2014

Track-specific metadata
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Details for APR7503 disc 1 track 29
No 7 in A major: Andantino
Artists
ISRC
GB-SAM-10-50129
Duration
0'53
Recording date
8 April 1929
Recording venue
New Jersey, USA
Recording producer
Recording engineer
Hyperion usage
  1. Moriz Rosenthal – The complete recordings (APR7503)
    Disc 1 Track 29
    Release date: December 2011
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