The Andante spianato and Grande Polonaise in E flat major Op 22 exists in two versions, for solo piano (the version most frequently heard) and for piano and orchestra (the original version), the last work that Chopin wrote in this form. The polonaise section was composed in Vienna in 1830 shortly before his arrival in Paris. Perhaps tiring of the glittering stile brillante, Chopin set it aside until he had the inspired idea of prefacing it with a work of an altogether different character that he added in 1835. It is really a nocturne. Indeed it seems that Chopin may have conceived the Op 27 nocturnes as a triptych to include this work in G major. In the event he entitled it Andante spianato, ‘spianato’ meaning ‘smooth’ or ‘even’. It may be, in the words of one commentator, ‘a fairly arbitrary coupling’, but it is nevertheless wonderfully effective and the only one of Chopin’s works for piano and orchestra, other than the concertos, to have retained a regular place in the repertoire.
from notes by Jeremy Nicholas © 2010