Frédéric Chopin

Ballade for piano No. 3 in A flat major, Op. 47, CT. 4

    Description by James Reel

    This ballade, like its two predecessors, is assumed to draw on the poetry of Chopin's friend Adam Mickiewicz (Chopin never confirmed the precise sources or programs connected with these works). Dedicated to Princess Pauline de Noailles, one of the composer's pupils, the piece is said to be inspired by Mickiewicz's "Undine." It's the tale of a water sprite who falls in love with a mortal; she cannot have him because her watery embrace would be fatal. (The sprite appears in another celebrated piano work, the first movement of Ravel's Gaspard de la nuit.)

    Far less turbulent than the other ballades, this one begins almost coyly, with a rising yet hesitant phrase in moderate tempo that gives way to a slightly more emphatic theme, dominated by its gently rocking rhythm, suggesting the waves of Undine's natural habitat. This material rises in volume and intensity, but quickly recedes into splashes and gentle cascades of notes in the keyboard's upper reaches.

    This aquatic idyll gives way to a new section, still dominated by the rocking rhythm but now arising from a simple, almost childlike tune. Within a few measures this melody grows more complex and the music heaves with passion without becoming truly turbulent. The music ebbs, making way for a return of the section's opening material. Now more gradually, the tempo and filigree increase and recede again. The ballade's opening theme returns without overtly marking a new section; it's incorporated into the tempo and texture the music has already established, and propels a long, restless passage that builds to the most intense climax of all -- yet one that suggests frustrated, passionate love rather than the high tragedy of the other ballades.

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2017 Deutsche Grammophon 4796778
    2017 Challenge Classics CC 72728
    2016 Melodiya MELCD 1002399
    2016 Deutsche Grammophon / Mercury Classics B002456802
    2016 Brilliant Classics 95210BR
    2016 Deutsche Grammophon 4795941
    2016 Erato 0190295974961
    2016 Fryderyk Chopin Institute / Nardowy Instytut Fryderyka Chopina NIFCCD 617
    2016 MSR Classics MS 1626
    2016 Solo Musica SM 246
    2016 Deutsche Grammophon 4795404
    2016 Aca Digital CM 20125
    2016 Analekta AN 29129
    2016 Piano Classics PCLM 0104
    2016 Sony Classical 88875183392
    2016 RCA Red Seal 88985321742
    2015 Deutsche Grammophon 4795448
    2015 Testament SBT3 1509
    2015 Simax Classics PSC 1347
    2015 Warner Classics 2564619911
    2015 Divine Art DDC 25752
    2015 RCA Red Seal / Sony Classical 88875127202
    2015 Centaur Records CRC 3427
    2015 Acousence Classics ACOCD 12114
    2015 Sony Classical 88843062432
    2015 Sony Classical 88843014702
    2015 Appian / APR (Appian) APR 6017
    2014
    5
    Signum Classics SIGCD 371
    2014 Steinway & Sons STNS 30038
    2014 Melodiya MELCD 1002234
    2014 La Dolce Volta LDV 14
    2014 Hungaroton HCD 3275051
    2014 Audite AUDITE 21419
    2014 RCA Red Seal 88843003502
    2014 Madison Gate Records 40640
    2014 Naïve V 5394
    2013 Decca
    2013 Fondamenta FON 1005008
    2013 LP Classics 1009AB
    2013 Piano Classics PCL 0049
    2013 Decca
    2013 Decca 4785691
    2013 Broken Audio BRAU 0992
    2013 Oehms Classics OC 894
    2013 Newton Classics 8802189
    2013 Verso VRS 2096
    2013 Warner Classics 2564651479
    2013 Fryderyk Chopin Institute NIFCCD 207
    2013 Meridian Records MER 84588
    2013 Warner Classics 2564639427
    2013 ICA Classics ICAB 5114
    2013 Deux-Elles DXL 1152
    2013 Susan Merdinger
    2013 Erato 5099940960029
    2013 Regis / Regis Records RRC 1399
    2013 RCA Red Seal / Sony Classical 88725462392
    2013 Decca 4785093
    2013 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099901924
    2012 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099970490
    2012 Archie Chen / Carnegie Artists
    2012 Warner Classics
    2012 Fryderyk Chopin Institute NIFCCD 026
    2012 Fryderyk Chopin Institute NIFCCD 211
    2012 Fryderyk Chopin Institute NIFCCD 615
    2012 Fryderyk Chopin Institute NIFCCD 206
    2012 The Entertainment Group 1150A
    2012 Entertainment Group 1174
    2012 Oehms Classics OC 402
    2012 MDG / Zebralution
    2012 Chandos CHAN 10714
    2012 Sony Classical 88691912562
    2012 Concerto / Zebralution
    2012 Audiophile Classics APL 101802
    2011 Li-Sem Enterprises DKM 601
    2011 RCA Red Seal 886919369120
    2011 TGG Direct 60262
    2011 ICA Classics ICAC 5048
    2011 Deutsche Grammophon
    2011 Deutsche Grammophon 4779908
    2011 Newton Classics 8802047
    2011 Newton Classics 8808083
    2011 Warner Classics
    2011 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099994983425
    2011 Newton Classics 8802076
    2011 BIS SACD 1838
    2011 Piano Classics PCL 0012
    2011 Disc Makers 1019115
    2011 Fuga Libera 579
    2011 Dux Records 0792
    2011 Cembal d'amour CD 160
    2011 Praga PRDDSD 250283
    2011 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099908216229
    2011 Fryderyk Chopin Institute NIFCCD000020
    2011 Camerata Records CMCD 99054
    2010 EMI Classics / EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics 5099945851
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon 2894779235
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon
    2010 Decca
    2010 Gramola 98889
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon 002894778445
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon 0013976
    2010 MSR Classics 1361
    2010 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099996711
    2010 Warner Classics
    2010 Oehms Classics 758
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon 435622
    2010 Mirare 110
    2010 Naïve V 5215
    2010 Alba / ALBA 289
    2010 Triton 58
    2010 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099968858
    2010 Newton Classics 8802008
    2010 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099945535
    2010 Decca
    2010 Decca 4782282
    2010 Newton Classics 8802015
    2010 Naxos 857809092
    2010 Ambroisie / Naïve AM 197
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon 4778724
    2010 Classics & Jazz / Deutsche Grammophon
    2010 Graham H. Jackson Music GHLM 005
    2010 RCA Red Seal / Sony Music Entertainment 88697625302
    2010 CBC Records 926786
    2010 Decca
    2010 Decca 14806
    2010 Testament 1445
    2009 Sony BMG / Sony Classical 88697577072
    2009 Deutsche Grammophon / Universal Music Classics and Jazz 001382602
    2009 Harmonia Mundi 90205
    2009 Alpha Productions 147
    2009 Erato / Virgin Classics 5099968637
    2009 Dux Records 650
    2009 Brilliant Classics 93255
    2009 Colosseum / Zebralution
    2009 Document / Membran 224063
    2009 Documents 222913
    2009 ZMI 104
    2009 Fab Four 232849
    2009 First Hand Records 4
    2009 Deutsche Grammophon 4778122
    2009 Deutsche Grammophon
    2009 X5 Music Group 15582
    2009 Sony Music Distribution 88697575002
    2009 Appian Publications 6007
    2008 Divine Art 24129
    2008 Apex 4696159
    2008 Arts Music 47696
    2008 BGR Records 107
    2008 Brilliant Classics 93217
    2008 Zig Zag Territoires ZZT080401
    2008 Arte Nova 592170
    2008 Arte Nova 636380
    2008 Hyperion 44351
    2008 Antes Edition / Zebralution
    2008 Fabulous 2006
    2008 Cembal d'amour 132
    2008 Denon Records 17740
    2008 Idis 6555
    2007 Bluthner 10011
    2007 Rhino
    2007 Urania 329
    2007 London Independent 70013
    2007 Classic Mania 93320
    2007 HDC 40300
    2007 Decca
    2007 JRI Recordings / JRI Recordings (formerly Jupiter) 113
    2007 Apex
    2007 Brilliant Classics 93528
    2007 Dal Segno 031
    2007 Document 223603
    2007 Harmonia Mundi 2908250
    2007 Medici Classics (formerly Monarch) 50019
    2007 Wigmore Hall 14
    2007 Ionian Productions 3324
    2007 Dal Segno 017
    2007 Vanguard Classics 6700
    2007 Brilliant 93180
    2007 Decca
    2006 Fabula Classica 12052
    2006 Harmonia Mundi 901943
    2006 BCI Music (Brentwood Communication) 41429
    2006 Brilliant 99802
    2006 Idis 6495
    2006 Decca 4757221
    2006 Decca
    2006 Decca 4768537
    2006 Warner Classics 2564636762
    2006 Globe 5162
    2006 MDG MDG645 1402-2
    2006 RCA 67892
    2005 Sony Music Distribution 89698
    2005 Rca Red Seal 72554
    2005 Hyperion CDH55182
    2005 Hungaroton 32271
    2005 Connoisseur Society 4246
    2005 Urania 4230
    2005 Ivory Records IVCD75001
    2005 EMI Classics
    2005 Urania 4239
    2005 VAI Audio 1243
    2005 Deutsche Grammophon 002894775242
    2005 Andromeda 5002
    2005 Hyperion HOUGH1
    2005 Naxos 8 552107/8
    2004 Apex 2564612612
    2004 Hyperion 67456
    2004 Naxos 8555799
    2004 EMI Music Distribution 85511
    2004 EMI Music Distribution 85807
    2004 Harmonia Mundi 905260
    2004 Andante AND1150
    2004 Biddulph Recordings LHW044
    2004 Gallo 1123
    2004 Rca Red Seal 188678
    2004 St. Clair 93892
    2004 Pierian 0022
    2004 RCA Red Seal 61396
    2004 Brilliant 92415
    2003 Philips 473461
    2003 APR (Appian) 5576
    2003 Telarc Distribution CD80629
    2003 Bayer Records 100348
    2003 Erato / Virgin 7243545620
    2003 Monarch Records 2005
    2003 Forlane 126817
    2003 Artemis Classics 1196
    2003 EMI Classics
    2003 Philips 475029
    2003 Decca 000477
    2003 AIX Entertainment 80014
    2003 Urania 232
    2003 Dal Segno 002
    2003 Preiser Records 95001
    2002 Warner Music 09274 2836-2
    2002 Deutsche Grammophon 469350
    2002 Naxos 8110684
    2002 Pearl 0170
    2002 Praga 356020-34
    2002 London 43947
    2001 Musicians Showcase 1057
    2001 APR (Appian) 5575
    2001 Unichrom 9005
    2001 BBC Legends / BBC Music 40572
    2001 Aura Classics 0100
    2001 Aura Classics 0116
    2001 T-Rax 53
    2001 Classica d'Oro 3021
    2001 EMI Music Distribution 74291
    2001 BIS 1160
    2001 Supraphon 35832
    2001 Supraphon 35802
    2001 Aura Classics 0187
    2001 Disky 70678
    2001 Aura Classics 0158
    2001 Dux Records 324/5
    2001 RCA 63844
    2001 Rca Red Seal 63045
    2001 Aura Classics 0139
    2001 Vox 5178
    2001 Lifestyles 315017
    2001 Music & Arts 1074
    2000 Arcobaleno 94272
    2000 St. Clair 30172
    2000 Arkadia 78509
    2000 Amadis 7022
    2000 Decca 466499
    2000 Philips / Universal Distribution 464025
    2000 Marston 52023-2
    2000 St. Clair 30622
    2000 Pearl GEMMCD0070
    2000 Tomol 2957
    2000 Americus Records 19991009
    1999 Helicon Records 1047
    1999 The Piano Library 221
    1999 The Piano Library 287
    1999 RCA Red Seal 96490
    1999 Philips 4569072
    1999 Deutsche Grammophon 463 047-2GCE17
    1999 Grammofono 2000 78862
    1999 Deutsche Grammophon 459683
    1999 Agora Musica 146
    1999 Deutsche Grammophon 463051
    1999 Naxos 501501
    1999 Naxos 554527
    1999 RCA 63259
    1999 Arion 68448
    1999 Pamplin Music 2001
    1999 Pearl 9928
    1999 BBC Music BBCL4021-2
    1999 Pearl 9038
    1999 Philips 462232
    1999 Philips 454987
    1999 Philips 456784
    1999 Newport Music Festival 3
    1999 Pearl 0068
    1999 Philips 456778
    1999 RCA Red Seal 63000
    1998 Philips 456955
    1998 Koch International Classics 7411
    1998 Decca 4603222
    1998 RCM 19702
    1998 Deutsche Grammophon 459 070-2GCC11
    1998 Nimbus 8816
    1998 Philips 456856
    1998 Deutsche Grammophon 459053
    1998 Dante 053
    1998 Enterprise 264
    1998 Aca Digital 20010
    1998 Philips 456943
    1998 Deutsche Grammophon 457667
    1997 London 452579
    1997 Nimbus 1764
    1997 London 443738
    1997 Melodiya 33216
    1997 RCA Victor Living Stereo / BMG / RCA 68813
    1997 Naxos 8 556654
    1997 Arkadia 78501
    1996 Carlton 00142
    1996 CBC Records 1092
    1996 Lydian 18022
    1996 Carlton 00992
    1996 London 444830
    1996 Sony Music Distribution 62415
    1996 Praga 354001.15
    1996 APR (Appian) 5555
    1996 London 452308
    1995 Praga 254060
    1995 Sony Music Distribution 64399
    1995 Pavane 7173
    1995 Conifer 51753
    1995 London
    1995 Music & Arts CD-871
    1995 Camerata Records 32CM263
    1995 Chandos CHAN9353
    1995 APR (Appian) 7025
    1995 Vanguard 8071
    1995 APR (Appian) APR 7029
    1994 Naxos 550508
    1994 Naxos 550291
    1994 BIS 197
    1994 Teldec 95499
    1994 VAI Audio 1092
    1994 BMG 62533
    1993 RCA 60986
    1993 Erato 45990
    1993 Hyperion 66577
    1993 Naxos 505016
    1993 Telarc Distribution 82003
    1993 ASV CDQS6095
    1993 Deutsche Grammophon
    1993 Deutsche Grammophon 439519
    1993 Olympia (Classical/Jazz) 193
    1993 Dorian 90102
    1993 Nimbus 1787
    1992 Nimbus 5209
    1992 Arabesque 6630
    1992 Pearl IF 2000
    1992 Decca / London 436389
    1992 Decca
    1992 EMI Music Distribution 67359
    1992 RCA 61265
    1991 RCA Victor GD60822
    1990 Deutsche Grammophon 423090
    1990 RCA Victor 2RG-60358
    Vox 9031
    Koch Discover International 920180
    Monopoly 2032
    Allen Barton
    Enterprise 287
    Ermitage 12052
    RFCM Symphony Orchestra
    Philips 468391
    CDs Audio 903
    ATMA Classique 2597
    London 443947/2
    Fonoteca 960408
    The Piano Library 905819
    Dante 42
    Ades 14076
    Theorema 121176
    Vox Allegretto 8151
    REM 311072
    London 417474
    Teldec 174781
    Olympia (Classical/Jazz) 274
    As Disc 5016
    Lyrinx 131
    BBC Music Magazine 57
    Brilliant 99802/13
    Accord 202452
    Fryderyk Chopin Institute 3
    Deutsche Grammophon 431583
    Deutsche Grammophon 431579
    Dux Records 646
    Philips 420655
    Digital Masterworks 71816
    Mandala Studio
    Ades 20311
    Classical Records 052
    Forlane 16803
    EMI Music Distribution 74457
    EMI Music Distribution 6627
    EMI Music Distribution 74457
    EXT 3015
    ProMusica 5327
    RCA 60480
    Philips Classics 426817
    Zephyr Records Z 14514
    CBS Records 45670
    Music & Arts 609
    EMI Music Distribution 69799B
    Towerhill 72017
    Classic CD 58
    Liquid Music
    Biddulph Recordings 1
    Pearl 9078
    London 410180
    Piano the Magazine 8
    Tavros 8253466528
    Gary Gillispie
    Music Tins 53926
    Madacy 53927
    Graham H. Jackson Music GHJM 005
    The Piano Library 301
    Fone 08
    Arlecchino 136
    MDG 6421086
    Fone 9009
    Klavier Records 11014
    As Disc 123
    Dante 1HPC
    CBS Records 42626
    Ermitage 150
    Dante 9661
    The Piano Library 227
    APR (Appian) 7020
    Historical Piano 058
    RCA Victor Living Stereo 68813
    RCA 60358
    Decca 466507
    Pearl 9860
    Classic CD 98
    Compose Records 9141
    Selene 980743
    The Piano Library 262
    Excelsior Recordings 4228
    High Definition Classics 003
    Fone 04
    Melodiya 33230
    Magic Talent 48044
    Urania
    London 433653
    Arlecchino 61
    Classical Records 017
    Naxos 551104
    RCA Victor 60822
    RCA 7156
    Brilliant 93180/1
    Vanguard 9142
    The Schiller Family 1206
    Bolshoi/BMG
    The Piano Library 206
    Klavier Records 11101
    Decca 4758046
    The Piano Library 317
    EXLB 4802
    Excelsior Recordings 4802