The third Nocturne of this group, in G minor, is not a typical Nocturne at all. In fact, it begins as a mazurka and ends as a chorale. There is no going back to the opening material once it is presented. This is one Nocturne where I think Chopin’s metronome mark is particularly revealing: too slow a tempo makes it impossibly sluggish. It is still possible for it to sound languishing, as Chopin demands, and for the rubato to be used where needed. His harmonic language is rich and expressive, taking us as far away as F sharp major before reaching a chromatic bridge into the religioso section. This is in D minor/F major and in strict four-part writing. A brief return to mazurka rhythm leads us to the close in G major. Chopin originally subtitled it ‘After a performance of Hamlet’, but then removed it, saying ‘Let them guess themselves’. I doubt that anybody would have done so.
from notes by Angela Hewitt © 2004