Frédéric Chopin’s Fantaisie-Impromptu in C ♯ minor Op. posth. 66 is a solo piano structure. It was composed in 1834 and released posthumously in 1855 even though Chopin had actually advised that none of his unpublished manuscripts be published. The Fantaisie-Impromptu is among Chopin’s most frequently performed and popular structures.
he Fantaisie-Impromptu was written in 1834, as were the 4 Mazurkas (Op. 17) and the Grande valse brillante in E ♭ major (Op. 18), but unlike these other works, Chopin never released the Fantaisie-Impromptu. Instead, Julian Fontana published it posthumously, along with other waltzes Opp. 69 and 70. It is unidentified why Chopin did not release the Fantaisie-Impromptu. James Huneker calls parts of it “mawkish” and “without nobility”. Ernst Oster carried out a technical examination of the piece which means similarities between the Fantaisie-Impromptu and Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Moonlight” Sonata (Quasi una fantasia), which he points out as the reason for Chopin’s hesitation to release the piece.
Chopin Piano Classical Music Sheet Fantaisie-Impromptu in C sharp Minor Op. 66 PDF Download
In 1960, the mystery might have been fixed when pianist Arthur Rubinstein obtained the “Album of the Baroness d’Este” which had actually been sold at auction in Paris. The album contained a manuscript of the Fantaisie-Impromptu in Chopin’s own hand, dated 1835, stating in French on the title page “Composed for the Baroness d’Este by Frédéric Chopin”. With the manuscript’s authenticity “guaranteed by the French authorities” and the discovered version showcasing “a fragile look after information” and “lots of enhancements in harmony and design” in comparison to the version published by Fontana, Rubinstein considered it outright evidence that this was the effectively ended up work. In his preface to the “Rubinstein Edition”, released by G. Schirmer, Inc. in 1962, Rubinstein speculates that the words “Composed for” in place of a commitment imply that Chopin got a paid commission for the work, so he had actually offered it to the Baroness.
Ernst Oster observes that the Fantaisie-Impromptu draws a number of its harmonic and tonal components from Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, which is likewise in C ♯ minor, and from the 3rd motion in particular. Two measures after the melody embeds in, an abrupt run includes the same notes, only one octave higher, like the cadenza in the sonata’s 3rd movement (Presto agitato). The climax on a 6
4 chord is similar in both pieces. Likewise, the Fantaisie-Impromptu’s middle part and the 2nd movement of the Moonlight Sonata are in D ♭ major. The first and third movements are in C ♯ minor.
For those and other reasons, Ernst Oster writes, “Chopin comprehended Beethoven to a degree that no one who has written on the C ♯ minor Sonata or the Fantaisie-Impromptu has actually ever understood him. … The Fantaisie-Impromptu is maybe the only instance where one genius divulges to us– if only by means of a composition of his own– what he actually hears in the work of another genius.”
The piece utilizes lots of cross-rhythms (the right-hand man plays sixteenth notes versus the left hand playing triplets) and a continually moving note figuration, and is in cut time (2.
2). The opening tempo is significant allegro agitato. The tempo modifications to largo and later moderato cantabile when the crucial changes to D ♭ major, the enharmonic equivalent of the more odd tonic major key of C ♯ major, that is, the parallel major of C ♯ minor.
The piece then alters to presto (although some variations of the score incorporate a coda, meaning that the initial tempo of allegro agitato is duplicated) where it continues in C ♯ minor as previously. It concludes in an ambiguous fantasy-like ending, in a quiet and mystical method, where the left hand replays the very first couple of notes of the moderato section theme, while the right hand continues playing 16th notes (semiquavers). The piece deals with and gently ends on a C ♯ major rolled chord (a Picardy third).
|Opus/Catalogue Number:||Op.66 ; Oeuvr. posth. Liv. 1|
|I-Catalogue Number:||IFC 24|
|Year/Date of Composition:||1834–35|
|Dedication:||none but composed for Madame la Baronne d’Este|