When Chopin is at his happiest, most outwardly serene, then, for the pianist, he is at his most treacherous. The Fourth Scherzo is the only one in a major key and its mercurial brilliance and whimsy are notoriously hard to control. Significantly, this Scherzo was Saint-Saëns’s favourite (it is, after all, the most urbane, Gallic and sparkling of the set) and both he and Pierné later used its potential to dazzling and mischievous effect in their G minor and C minor piano concertos. A later mix of duple and triple time evokes the A flat Waltz, opus 42, and a gentler, less animated syncopation characterizes the central più lento, a pensive and rhapsodic interlude after so much scintillating light and shade. The coda confirms the Scherzo’s overall high spirits and the final ‘flutter of silvery scale’ is a far cry from the grimly determined conclusion to the earlier Scherzos.
from notes by Bryce Morrison © 2004