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The snippet of Chopin’s score on the Dedication page is from a duet between bassoon and piano in the Larghetto movement of his piano concerto, op. 21 in F minor. Chopin composed this incomparably beautiful work in 1829-30 when he was just shy of twenty years old, and as he wrote the Larghetto he was thinking of Konstancja Gładkowska, a mezzo-soprano who was his first Polish love.
In the powerfully moving recital below, Ukrainian pianist Anna Fedorova performs the Larghetto with the Ukranian Freedom Orchestra at the Albert Hall in London on July 31, 2022. The 74-member orchestra, made of Ukranian musicians, many of whom were displaced by the Russian invasion, had been created only months earlier. The conductor is Keri-Lynn Wilson, who conceived the idea of the orchestra.
In the 2018 performance below, Tomasz Ritter, the 23 year old winner of the First International Chopin Competition on Period Instruments, plays the Larghetto on an 1842 Pleyel. The bassoonist is Hugo Rodríguez Arteaga, performing with the Orchestra of the 18th Century. Read more
And here is another favorite performance, this one by a much older man: Arthur Rubinstein at age 88, playing with the London Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Andre Previn in 1975. The Larghetto begins at 14:30 and the duet with bassoon and piano begins at 22:00.
And something very different: a beautiful graphical score by Stephen Malinowski, creator of the Music Animation Machine. The duet starts at 7:39, with the bassoon contributing its own shape and color to the visual representation of this gorgeous work.
Up Next: music links for the Author’s Note….