Frédéric Chopin

Trois nouvelles études, for piano, KK IIb/3, CT. 38-40 (B. 130)

    Description by Robert Cummings

    Chopin composed this set of etudes for the Méthode des methods, a publication of Ignaz Moscheles, a leading pianist and composer of his day who was not always in agreement with Chopin's compositional techniques, and François-Joseph Fétis, a now largely forgotten Belgian musicologist. The three pieces here are interesting but not especially innovative by Chopin's standards. That observation, however, must not be taken to mean the three etudes are lesser creations or feed on past formulas. Indeed, they are each brimming with ideas and do not contain a single dull note.

    The first two etudes here focus on cross-rhythms. The First is in F minor and starts off hesitantly, then launches headlong into a dark, intense world that augurs the gloomy moods in some of Rachmaninov's early piano works. Just after the opening this etude's different rhythmic patterns emerge clearly, each hand sounds its notes and weaves them into a multicolored fabric that grows more anxious and restless as the music proceeds. The tortured longing ends and the mood tempers to a quiet but otherworldly view of its opening theme.

    The second etude, in A flat major, while also devoted to the same kind of rhythmic aspects of the keyboard, takes the listener to an entirely different world. Its character is brighter, its demeanor calmer, and its thematic shifts -- from the right hand in the lovely main theme to the left in the mellow alternate one -- deftly conceived and utterly ingenious. The left hand presents the counter rhythm in the outer sections, while the right accompanies in like manner in the middle section, each transition managed seamlessly: indeed, the right hand plays much the same music in its accompanimental role. Once again Chopin heralds Rachmaninov -- most noticeably in the middle section -- but now a happier and more tranquil Rachmaninov.

    The Third Etude, in D flat major, examines the mixture of legato and staccato playing. It is a lively but unhurried piece whose playfulness and jaunty gait are highlighted by the staccato character of much of the writing. This is the lightest of the three etudes in the set, and though its mood is generally bright, it has a slightly detached character. In the end, this etude probably must rank below its siblings, though it is still an effective piece.

    Each of the three etudes has a duration of about two minutes, or slightly less. The second often runs a bit longer than the other two in some performances.

    Parts/Movements

    1. No. 25 in F minor
    2. No. 26 in A flat major
    3. No. 3 in D flat major

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2018 RCA Red Seal 88985499992
    2018 Universal Classics
    2017 IBA [Idil Biret Archives] 8501503
    2017 Erato 0190295869205
    2017 Musicians Showcase MS 1043
    2016 Piano Classics PCLM 0104
    2015 Profil PH 15012
    2014 Piano Classics PCL 0068
    2014 Decca
    2013 Doremi Records DHR 79945
    2013 Decca 4785093
    2012 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099970490
    2012 Teldec 2564664684
    2012 MDG MDG 9041747
    2012 Cembal d'amour CD 170
    2011 RCA Red Seal 886919369120
    2011 Newton Classics 8802076
    2011 Classical Records 047
    2011 EMI Classics
    2011 Fryderyk Chopin Institute NIFCCD000020
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon 002894778445
    2010 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099996711
    2010 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099945535
    2010 Decca 4782282
    2010 Fryderyk Chopin Institute 15
    2010 Hyperion 55380
    2010 Simax 1307
    2010 Ambroisie / Naïve AM 197
    2009 Deutsche Grammophon / Universal Music Classics and Jazz 001382602
    2009 EMI Classics 2126952
    2009 Music & Arts MACD1229
    2009 Chandos 30
    2008 EMI Classics
    2008 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099921296
    2008 Brilliant Classics 93217
    2008 Thorofon / Zebralution
    2008 Harmonia Mundi 901982
    2008 Hyperion 44351
    2008 EMI Classics 3799882
    2007 APR (Appian) 5573
    2007 EMI Classics
    2007 EMI Music Distribution 79987
    2006 Warner Classics 510116033
    2006 Ivory Classics IC76003
    2006 Warner Classics
    2006 EMI Music Distribution 50874
    2005 Rca Red Seal 72554
    2005 Urania 4236
    2005 EMI Music Distribution
    2005 Music & Arts 1150
    2004 Novalis 150704
    2004 Harmonia Mundi 907282
    2003 Forlane 126817
    2003 Direct Source 1656
    2003 Sony Music Distribution 90428
    2002 APR (Appian) 5571
    2002 Classica d'Oro 3042
    2002 Zayas Masterworks 102
    2002 APR (Appian) 5567
    2002 London 43947
    2001 Camerata Records 25CM609
    2001 Rca Red Seal 63026
    2000 Novalis 150142
    2000 Amadis 7064
    2000 RS 27
    2000 Teldec 8573-80228-2
    2000 Rca Red Seal 63044
    1999 Deutsche Grammophon 463 047-2GCE17
    1999 Naxos 554527
    1999 Deutsche Grammophon 463051
    1999 Naxos 501501
    1999 Pearl 9641
    1999 Arabesque 6718
    1999 Philips 462232
    1999 Philips 454987
    1999 Philips 456742
    1999 RCA Red Seal 63000
    1999 Philips 456715
    1998 Philips 456955
    1997 Nimbus 1764
    1997 Decca 452167
    1996 RCA 68164
    1996 Sony Music Distribution 62605
    1995 London
    1995 Vox 5513
    1994 Naxos 550508
    1994 Centaur Records 2210
    1994 Crescendo Music Productions / Thorofon 2195
    1994 VAI Audio 1037
    1993 Naxos 505016
    1992 Teldec 73129
    1992 Nimbus 5095
    1992 Chesky Records CHESKY CD77
    1992 Chandos 8482
    1991 RCA Victor GD60822
    1988 EMI Music Distribution 610162
    London 443947/3
    London 421035
    Apex 89083
    Donau 8064
    Thorofon 2195
    Lydian 18064
    Forlane 16802
    Decca 470288
    EMI Music Distribution 74457
    EMI Music Distribution 74457
    Fone 062
    Zephyr Z 13910
    Fone 9106
    Classico 2012
    Pearl 9472
    Selene 980238
    Music & Arts 615
    Rca Red Seal 5617
    RCA Victor 60822
    Rca Red Seal 572762