CHOPIN Scherzos and Polonaises Scherzos: 'Scherzo' is the Italian word for "joke", a musical form used in the Classical Period as a lighthearted but virtuosic movement in a Concerto or a Sonata. Chopin transfigures it's virtuosic character into a more dramatic and epic tale that stands on it's own. Chopin's Scherzo no.1 was published in London in 1831 as 'Le Banquet infernal' for it's sharp contrast between the dramatic virtuoso passages of the first part and the idyllic second part featuring the Polish Christmas lullaby, 'Sleep, little Jesus, sleep". Composed after learning that the Polish rebellion to the Russian domination had been crushed, it seems as if Chopin chose a "Scherzo" as an ironical dismay ("this is not a joke!") to represent his political condemnation of the violent Russian army - suddenly running as the torrential scales of the first and last part - against the Polish - as innocent as the most unaware sleeping baby of the central part. Of a completely different mood, the Scherzo no. 2 was composed six years later for his student Countess Adèle Fürstenstein. Full of tenderness and passion, it was published in England as 'La Méditation' and was so popular among the female public, that it earned the surname "The Governess's Scherzo" for being so often desecrated and badly tamed by governesses' hands. The Scherzo no.3 was started in Marseilles and completed during his stay with Georges Sand in Nohant in 1839. Opening with a demonic introduction of energetic double octaves, the scherzo suddenly turns into a chorale interspersed with delicate falling arpeggios. As this impressive changing of scenery happens twice, the scherzo ends with a finale "con fuoco" proclaiming the dramatic statement of the most romantic hero. The scherzo no.4 is the only one in Major key. Composed in 1843 during a rare period of serendipity both physically and emotionally for Chopin, it is a composition full of light and optimism, with ripples of ethereal arpeggios and lyrical melodies of a barcarolle. Polonaises: Chopin chose the Polonaise as the most proud and triumphant statement of love for his distant homeland. The Andante Spianato and Grande Polonaise Brillante Op.22 was composed for his first european tournée as the perfect presentation of himself: a "grande" composer, a proud Polish and a "brillante" pianist. The Andante spianato, from the Italian meaning "open and flat" as a vast plane, is a long and serene breath before a joyful and rich polonaise. The Polonaise "Militair" was composed in October 1838 soon after moving to Majorca with George Sand. A very strong and independent woman embodying the romantic spirit of the French revolution in her successful novels, it seems as if she inspired Chopin to transfigure the original ceremonial dance in a glorious and triumphant march embodying the Polish spirit. The Polonaise "Heroic" was composed in 1842 at the top of his concert career. It starts with a very theatrical introduction of ascendent scales and majestic crescendo until the Polonaise rhythm of the first heroic part. An unpredictable long crescendo of double octaves brakes the traditional style before introducing a melancholic declaration of love for the beauty of his country. Notes by S.Passamonte.