Frédéric Chopin

Funeral march for piano in C minor, Op. 72/2, CT. 50

    Description by Robert Cummings

    This is not the famous Funeral March from the Piano Sonata No. 2 (1839). That one was composed in 1837 by Chopin and inserted two years by him into the sonata as the third movement. This effort is a bit shorter but is still a substantial work. Written when the composer was 17 and a student at the Warsaw Conservatory, it already displays many stylistic fingerprints of the master to come: accompaniment in chords played in step with the main theme, a melody that can suddenly turn from the morose to the sweet; and a sonic fabric whose color and expressive range clearly break with Classical tradition.

    The work opens with a somber, dignified theme whose slow gait imparts a sense of desolation. Yet when the melody reaches the upper ranges of the piano it briefly brightens and consoles, but in the sense that pity can offer only temporary solace to the bereaved. The middle section trio is based on the main theme and is lovely in its gentleness, but fails to break with the overall dark mood. The main theme returns to close the piece.

    This work was published posthumously (in 1855 in Berlin), probably an indication the composer was not satisfied with it. While this Funeral March's material may not be sufficiently varied to justify its approximately five-minute length, its writing is generally inventive for its time, and its thematic wares are of sufficient interest to warrant greater attention than the work has generally received.

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2017 Audite AUDITE 97730
    2017 IBA [Idil Biret Archives] 8501503
    2016 British Military Music Archive BMMACG 1618
    2016 Hungaroton HCD 32473
    2015 Sony Classical 88875050462
    2011 Newton Classics 8802076
    2011 Fryderyk Chopin Institute NIFCCD000020
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon 002894778445
    2010 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099996711
    2010 Decca
    2010 Fryderyk Chopin Institute 17
    2010 Nesak International 17003
    2009 Denon Records
    2009 Sony BMG / Sony Classical 88697577072
    2009 Deutsche Grammophon / Universal Music Classics and Jazz 001382602
    2009 Zephyr 132-09
    2009 X5 Music Group 15582
    2008 Brilliant Classics 93217
    2006 Collectors' Choice Music CCM 06902
    2006 Cascavelle 3066
    2005 Divine Art 2-4116
    2003 Arbiter ARBITER137
    2003 Forlane 126817
    2001 T-Rax B41
    2001 Piano 21 002
    1999 Deutsche Grammophon 463 047-2GCE17
    1999 Deutsche Grammophon 463051
    1999 Naxos 501501
    1999 Naxos 554527
    1997 Capriccio Records 10710
    1997 London 443738
    1997 APR (Appian) 5532
    1995 London
    1994 Naxos 550508
    1994 Sony Music Distribution 53515
    1994 Sony Music Distribution 53967
    1993 Naxos 505016
    Selene 940117
    London 421035
    Forlane 16767
    Philips Classics 426824
    Decca 475 8091DB5