Frédéric Chopin

Fantasy for piano in F minor/A flat major, Op. 49, C. 42

    Description by Robert Cummings

    This is one of Chopin's largest compositions for solo piano, typically lasting well over ten minutes in performance. It is unusual not only in its length but in form: some have called it the "fifth" Ballade, but its 4/4 time, as opposed to the usual 6/8 of the ballade, perhaps ruled out that genre name. Certainly the work qualifies as a Fantasy in that it is loosely structured and extended, profuse in its melodicism, and quasi-improvisatory in nature. The ideal of unfettered imagination was a strong one in much of Chopin's music, however, and in fact this Fantasy bears some affinity with other big Chopin pieces of the early 1840s, such as the Scherzo, Op. 54 and the second and third piano sonatas. The work shows this master of the miniature applying himself to the problem of large-scale form, and in this respect is very much a worthy counterpart of earlier composed Fantasies such as Mozart's K. 457. The challenge composers faced was to avoid the seeming contradiction between the ideals of composition and fantasy.

    The piece starts off with a slow march-like theme which appears only once in the piece. There follow three main groups of themes, each preceded by a sort of bridge passage that serves as a refrain. This bridge is made up of arpeggios that rise upward and gradually increase in tempo. The mood imparted by the first group of themes is one of intensity and passion, of drive and excitement. Its chief theme is stormy and somewhat melancholy, and is the most dominant melody in the work. The mood of the second theme group is subdued and has an air of religiosity about its solemnity, while that of the third is a mixture of triumph and happy defiance. The refrain closes the piece, leaving the listener in awe at the many moods and colorful writing he or she has encountered in this somewhat enigmatic work.

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2016 Sony Classical 88875119792
    2016 Gall (formerly Gallo) CD 1448
    2016 Chandos CHAN 10902
    2016 Dux Records 1198
    2016 Fryderyk Chopin Institute NIFCCD 625
    2016 Erato 0190295974961
    2016 Centaur Records CRC 3502
    2016 Deutsche Grammophon 4795404
    2015 Deutsche Grammophon 4795448
    2015 Albany Music Distribution / Albany Records TROY 1601/02
    2015 Klanglogo / Rondeau KL 1409
    2015 Warner Classics 2564619911
    2015 Zephyr / Zephyr Z 14615
    2015 Divine Art DDC 25752
    2015 RCA Red Seal / Sony Classical 88875127202
    2015 APR (Appian) APR 7306
    2015 Sony Classical 88843062432
    2015 Centaur Records CRC 3406
    2014 Praga PRDDSD 350110
    2014 Deutsche Grammophon
    2014 Membran / Membran Music Ltd. / Saifam MMB 1022
    2014 RCA Red Seal 88843003502
    2014 Three Oranges Recordings
    2014 Three Oranges Recordings 3OR 06
    2014 Romeo Records RR 7303
    2014 Cameo Classics CC 9028CD
    2014 Delphian DCD 34138
    2013 Soundset SR 1049
    2013 Arbiter ARBITER 161
    2013 AAO Music PWM 71032
    2013 Meridian Records MER 84588
    2013 CD Accord ACD 1892
    2013 Erato 5099940960029
    2013 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099901924
    2012 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099970490
    2012 ATMA Classique ACD 22666
    2012 EMI Classics 21233
    2012 Fryderyk Chopin Institute NIFCCD 614
    2012 Anima Records ANM 51100001
    2012 Fryderyk Chopin Institute NIFCCD 616
    2012 Telarc TEL 33906-25
    2012 Telarc / Telarc Distribution TEL33388
    2012 Entertainment Group 4039
    2012 Entertainment Group 1185A
    2012 Entertainment Group 1535A
    2012 LP Classics LPClassics 1002
    2012 Brilliant Classics 94397
    2012 Entertainment Group 11904
    2012 Music & Arts 1261
    2012 Bella Musica / Zebralution
    2012 ZYX Music CLABOX 007
    2012 Sony Classical 88691912562
    2012 AAO Music VER 62802
    2012 Audiophile Classics APL 101802
    2011 RCA Red Seal 886919369120
    2011 Deutsche Grammophon 4779908
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    2011 Newton Classics 8802076
    2011 BIS SACD 1838
    2011 SOMM SOMMCD 0103
    2011 Piano Classics PCL 0012
    2011 Fryderyk Chopin Institute NIFCCD600601
    2011 RPO RPM 28970
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    2011 Dux Records 0792
    2011 Azica Records ACD71264
    2011 Centaur Records CRC3093
    2011 Accord ACD 1702
    2011 Praga PRDDSD 250283
    2011 Deutsche Grammophon 4779527
    2011 Deutsche Grammophon
    2011 Fryderyk Chopin Institute NIFCCD000020
    2011 Deutsche Grammophon 477 951-9
    2011 Deutsche Grammophon B0015384
    2011 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099902831428
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon
    2010 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099968582
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    2008 Brilliant Classics 93217
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    2008 ZYX Classics 100522
    2008 Corona Classic Collection 0001582CCC
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    2008 Profil - Edition Günter Hänssler 4071
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    2004 Naxos 8555799
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    1998 ADN Productions 9801
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    1998 Arizona Friends of Ch 19961
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    1997 RCA Victor Living Stereo / BMG / RCA 68813
    1997 Olympia (Classical/Jazz) 621
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    1996 Testament 2088
    1996 Otello 7605
    1996 Cedille Records 26
    1996 Testament 1030
    1996 Par Excellence/St. Clair 24262
    1996 London 452308
    1995 Classical Heritage 1214
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    1995 Hallmark Recordings 350142
    1995 ZYX Music 4141
    1995 Vanguard 8092
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    1995 London
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    1995 Cambria 1098
    1995 Royal Classics 6455
    1995 APR (Appian) 7009
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    1995 Madacy 9116
    1995 RCA Victor Red Seal 25807
    1995 Madacy 7630
    1995 APR (Appian) 5551
    1994 Music & Arts CD-817
    1994 RCA 902660445
    1994 Naxos 550508
    1994 Sony Music Distribution 53515
    1994 Madacy 21015
    1994 Disques Pierre Verany 730017
    1994 RCA 62643
    1993 Erato 45990
    1993 Bridge 9001
    1993 Naxos 505016
    1993 Laserlight 16211
    1993 Pearl 9478
    1993 Pearl 9979
    1993 Vox Cameo Classics 8756
    1993 Nimbus 1787
    1992 Nimbus Records 5064
    1992 Music & Arts CD-717
    1992 Chandos CHAN9018
    1992 EMI Music Distribution 67359
    1992 EMI Music Distribution 67366
    1992 Madacy 56423
    1991 CBS Records / Sony Music Distribution SX11K-48153
    1991 RCA Victor GD60822
    1990 Deutsche Grammophon 423090
    1990 CBS Records 42400
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    1985 CBS Records 39708
    Vox 9030
    The Piano Library 194
    Ermitage 12052
    RCA 5616
    Ermitage 101
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    Pianogarden
    Fabula Classica 12078
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    Philips 468391
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    London 443947/1
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    Dux 647
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    Philips 420655
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    Arkadia 918
    Accord 200352
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    Fonit-Cetra Italia 2002
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    EMI Classics / EMI Music Distribution 7224222
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