This work comes from Chopin's early Paris years, when he was struggling to earn recognition, even struggling to earn a living. By the time this piece was published in 1834, though, he was enjoying fame and a degree of fortune. Although this work is tagged as his Op. 16 Introduction and Rondo, it came four years later than his Op. 73 Rondo, and two years later than his Op. 21 Second Piano Concerto. Still, it is an early work, but one already guided by the hand of a master.
This Rondo begins with a C minor introduction of passion and fire, of changing tempos and wide-ranging dynamics. When the playful, chipper main theme is presented, the art of contrast is realized with a delightful, nearly Richter scale-sized jolt that effectively serves the composer's deft sense for color. A second theme, calmer but still lively, is presented and brings on a stately air. All the material reappears in rondo fashion, with the main theme returning at the close, followed by a brilliant though somewhat subdued coda. Chopin offers some imaginative thematic development in this work, and as usual, attractive keyboard writing. This is certainly a worthwhile composition, if not among Chopin's very finest. A typical performance of this Rondo lasts from 10 to 12 minutes.