Movement 1: Allegro maestoso
Movement 2: Romance: Larghetto
Movement 3: Rondo: Vivace
Op 11 has a lengthy orchestral exposition (twice as long as that of Op 21) marked Allegro maestoso. The touching second subject is archetypal Chopin and its first appearance a moment of exquisite beauty. The second movement, labelled Romanza, consists of a yearning nocturne-like theme in E major contrasted with a second subject in B major. He was still working on the Concerto when he wrote a letter dated 15 May 1830 in which he described his thoughts about this movement. It is one of the rare occasions that he made any allusion to the programme behind the music: ‘It is not meant to be loud, it’s more of a romance, quiet, melancholy; it should give the impression of gazing tenderly at a place which brings to mind a thousand dear memories. It is a sort of meditation in beautiful spring weather, but by moonlight. That is why I have muted the accompaniment.’ The final movement (Vivace) is a lively rondo with some resemblance to the krakowiak, a popular Polish folk dance. Despite the Concerto’s key signature, it is, like the Romanza, written in the key of E major. Chopin was the soloist in the first performance, heard privately on 22 September 1830, and again in the work’s public premiere in Warsaw Town Hall on 11 October. It was the last concert he gave before leaving Poland for good.
from notes by Jeremy Nicholas © 2008