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Track(s) taken from CDS44351/66

Impromptu No 2 in F sharp major, Op 36


Garrick Ohlsson (piano)
Recording details: August 1993
Performing Arts Center, Purchase College, State University of New York, USA
Produced by Adam Abeshouse
Engineered by Adam Abeshouse
Release date: November 2008
Total duration: 6 minutes 21 seconds

Cover artwork: Frédéric Chopin in concert at the Hotel Lambert, Paris (1840) by Antar Teofil Kwiatowski (1809-1891)
Bibliothèque Polonaise, Paris / Archives Charmet / Bridgeman Art Library, London

Other recordings available for download

Angela Hewitt (piano)


'Hyperion's big deal … Ohlsson is a powerful and committed player, and is afforded very good sound by the engineers … this is almost certainly how these pieces were played in Chopin's time' (The Mail on Sunday)

'This is an oustanding achievement, which any genuine Chopin lover and student of Romantic music should own … a landmark in the recording of Chopin's music … Garrick Ohlsson and Hyperion deserve the greatest success in bringing this important undertaking to such a consistently impressive conclusion' (International Record Review)

'An attractively priced box set … Ohlsson is in a class of his own' (Pianist)

'The collaborative works receive particularly rewarding performances … Ohlsson arguably offers more consistent artistry than Biret, Ashkenazy, Magaloff, and Harasiewicz' (Classics Today)

'Garrick Ohlsson’s complete survey of everything Chopin wrote for piano (including chamber music, songs, and for piano and orchestra) will delight the completist and the Chopin connoisseur. Ohlsson (who won the Chopin International Piano Competition in 1970) gives us accounts of this wondrous repertoire in weighty and commanding style, aristocratic and impulsive (but not lacking light and shade or contemplative contrasts) and, at times, very sensitive and searching. These vivid recordings were made in the second half of the 1990s and have previously appeared on the Arabesque label. They now sit very well in Hyperion’s catalogue' (Classical Source)
The Impromptu in F sharp major, Op 36 was composed in Nohant during the summer of 1839. It is the most challenging of the four to interpret, both musically and technically. The left hand begins with a walking accompaniment – the melody in the right hand only appearing in the seventh bar. When it does, it seems calm and secure (with a slight tinge of regret passing into A sharp minor). Along with a chordal section, it certainly doesn’t prepare us for what is to come. A dramatic change to D major brings a military-like theme which becomes quite heroic. Then two bars of swift modulation bring us to the unlikely key of F major where the initial theme makes a reappearance, but this time accompanied by triplets. Half way through that, Chopin makes a step up to the tonic key and remains there until the end. But the surprises don’t stop: a sudden flurry of demisemiquavers in the right hand (marked leggiero) is unexpected, leaving the left hand to sing in counterpoint. The chordal passage from the opening brings this imaginative piece to a close.

from notes by Angela Hewitt © 2004

L’Impromptu en fa dièse majeur, op.36 fut composé à Nohant, durant l’été de 1839. Des quatre, il est celui qui lance à l’interprète le plus grand défi musical et technique. La main gauche s’ouvre sur un accompagnement monotone, la mélodie à la main droite n’apparaissant qu’à la septième mesure. Tout semble alors calme et tranquille (avec une légère nuance de regret passant en la dièse mineur). Aux côtés d’une section en accords, cette mélodie ne nous prépare en rien à ce qui va suivre: un dramatique changement en ré majeur entraîne dans son sillage un thème martial, qui devient franchement héroïque. Puis deux mesures d’une rapide modulation nous conduisent à la tonalité inattendue de fa majeur, où le thème initial fait une réapparition, assorti de triolets, cette fois. À mi-chemin, Chopin avance vers la tonique, où il reste jusqu’à la fin. Mais les coups de théâtre ne s’arrêtent pas là. Une soudaine rafale de triples croches à la main droite (marquées leggiero) nous prend presque par surprise, laissant la main gauche chanter en contrepoint. Le passage en accords du début vient clore cette pièce imaginative.

extrait des notes rédigées par Angela Hewitt © 2004
Français: Hypérion

Das Impromptu in Fis-Dur op. 36 entstand in Nohant während des Sommers 1839. Für den Interpreten ist dies sowohl musikalisch als auch technisch das anspruchsvollste der vier Werke. Die linke Hand beginnt mit einer schreitenden Begleitung; die Melodie liegt in der rechten Hand und setzt erst im siebten Takt ein. Dies geschieht mit Ruhe und Sicherheit (wobei sich ein leichtes Bedauern in ais-Moll bemerkbar macht). Dies und eine Akkord-Passage bereiten den Hörer jedoch nicht auf das Folgende vor. Ein dramatischer Wechsel nach D-Dur führt ein militärisches Thema ein, das sich recht heroisch entwickelt. Dann führen zwei Takte rascher Modulation zum unerwarteten F-Dur, in dem das Anfangsthema nochmals auftritt, diesmal jedoch von Triolen begleitet. Mitten in dieser Passage geht Chopin einen Schritt nach oben zur Tonika und verweilt dort bis zum Ende. Die Überraschungen hören dort jedoch nicht auf. Ein plötzlicher Wirbel von Zweiunddreißigsteln (leggiero markiert) in der rechten Hand haben eine fast überwältigende Wirkung, während die linke Hand dazu im den Kontrapunkt singt. Die Akkord-Passage vom Anfang beendet dieses phantasievolle Stück.

aus dem Begleittext von Angela Hewitt © 2004
Deutsch: Viola Scheffel

Other albums featuring this work

Chopin: Nocturnes & Impromptus
Studio Master: CDA67371/22CDsStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Chopin: Preludes & Impromptus
Chopin: Nocturnes & Impromptus
This album is not yet available for downloadSACDA67371/22CDs Super-Audio CD — Deleted
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