This is the concluding piece in Chopin's Op. 28 set of preludes -- and what a dramatic finale it is! Subtitled "The Storm," it seethes with tension and turbulence, brims with a sense the music is on the verge of breakdown or eruption, and exudes a feeling of profound sadness and frustration. Many have attempted to link personal events in the composer's life to his music, especially to overwrought pieces like this Prelude in D minor, but Chopin rarely needed a stimulus to express sadness or despair, or to convey a sense of longing or of passionate love. Ironically, this work likely came at a relatively happy time in the composer's life, when he had begun a nine-year affair with writer George Sand (Aurore Dupin Dudevant).
Marked Allegro appassionato, the piece begins with a rumbling accompaniment in the bass, over which Chopin presents a dramatic theme in the middle register, at once expressing yearning and sadness, while churning and roiling feverishly. At times the music softens, but only to become more intense and agitated moments later. The mood grows to almost hysterical proportions before the music seemingly crash lands in the bass, a single note tolling like a death knell to bring the piece to a tragic and dramatic end.