Frédéric Chopin

Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor, Op. 11, CT. 47

    Description by Roger Dettmer

    Chopin, the son of a French father and a Polish mother, was born the same year as Schumann (one later than Mendelssohn, one before Liszt). Before consumption killed him in his 40th year, he had developed both an elegantly sensual pianism and a keyboard oeuvre without expressive parallel. His twin gods were Bach and Mozart (as if Haydn, Beethoven, and Schubert never existed); in turn he influenced keyboard composers for nearly a century after -- Schumann, Liszt, Brahms, Dvorák, Debussy, Scriabin, Rachmaninov, and Ravel.

    Although we cannot ignore developments in piano manufacture, especially by Pleyel of Paris, it was Chopin's artistry that prompted Schumann to write in 1830, "Hats off, gentlemen! A genius!" Parisian critics, who were then Europe's most cosmopolitan, dubbed him "the Ariel of the piano," although in his lifetime he played in public only 50 times, just once a solo recital, and for audiences usually no larger than 100 listeners.

    Before his emigration to Paris in 1831 he had composed six works for piano and orchestra (but nothing orchestral after those), including two concertos published in reverse order. The E minor was issued in 1833, the F minor "Second" in 1836 although Chopin composed it in 1829, when he was 19. Both reflect his infatuation with Vincenzo Bellini's operas, especially Norma, whose ornamentation he adapted and personalized, to the extent of basing his theme-and-variations slow movement in Concerto No. 1 on embellishments.

    In the classical style that Mozart bequeathed to Beethoven, principal themes of the Allegro maestoso are introduced by the orchestra, at uncommon length which adds admirably to the suspense. Once the piano enters, it dominates. Although the opening subject is marked maestoso, subsequent ones are glowingly lyrical and gorgeously ornamented, even before their development in E minor/major. There is a coda but no cadenza per se (although the entire solo part may be likened to a cadenza).

    Chopin wrote, during the composition of the Larghetto (E major/C sharp minor) homage to Bellini, "I am using muted strings -- I wonder how they will sound?" He described it as having "a romantic, calm, and rather melancholy character...a kind of moonlight reverie on a beautiful spring night." There is no pause before --

    The main theme of the Rondo: Vivace in E major has been called both a polka and a Krakowiac; beginning in E major, Chopin modulates to A major for the episode. Before a dashing conclusion, he ventures into E flat, then B major in the episode's return.

    The concerto is altogether a prize although its orchestration is neither artful nor brilliant; nonetheless this compares favorably with Schumann's or Hummel's in a well-conducted performance, and the piano writing is nonpareil.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Allegro maestoso
    2. Romance. Larghetto
    3. Rondo. Vivace

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2019 Analekta AN 29146
    2018 RCA Red Seal 88985499992
    2018 Lawo Classics LWC 1149
    2018 Decca
    2018 Melodiya MELCD 1002539
    2017 IBA [Idil Biret Archives] 8501503
    2017 Deutsche Grammophon 4797518
    2017 Zefir Records ZEF 9649
    2017 Deutsche Grammophon 4796778
    2017 Erato 0190295869205
    2017 Sony Classical 88985416702
    2017 Naxos 8503293
    2017 Deutsche Grammophon 0028947980
    2017 Deutsche Grammophon
    2016 RCA Red Seal 88875169792
    2016 Deutsche Grammophon
    2016 Fryderyk Chopin Institute NIFCCD 625
    2016 Deutsche Grammophon 4795941
    2016 Fryderyk Chopin Institute NIFCCD 038
    2016 Profil - Edition Günter Hänssler PH 15037
    2016 Deutsche Grammophon B002476202
    2016 DUX / Dux Records DUX 1270
    2016 Erato 0190295974961
    2016 Deutsche Grammophon 4796068
    2016 Doremi / Doremi Records DHR 804446
    2016 RCA Red Seal 88875177312
    2016 Oehms Classics OC 1831
    2016 Deutsche Grammophon 4795404
    2016 Decca / Philips 4788977
    2016 RPO LYD 001
    2016 Sony Classical 88875183392
    2016 Sonoma 1235560
    2016 Deutsche Grammophon 002894794110
    2015 Deutsche Grammophon 4795448
    2015 Klanglogo / Rondeau KL1408
    2015 Danacord DACOCD 701702
    2015 Fryderyk Chopin Institute FCS 42
    2015 Brilliant Classics 95106BR
    2015 Profil PH 15012
    2015 Pavane / Pavane Records ADW 7571
    2015 Deutsche Grammophon 4794370
    2015 Deutsche Grammophon 4794155
    2015 Deutsche Grammophon
    2015 Sony Classical 88843062432
    2015 LP Classics 1024
    2015 Deutsche Grammophon 4794647
    2014 Sony Classical 88843047122
    2014 ABC Classics 4811323
    2014 Herisson HRN 11
    2014 Naïve AM 212
    2014 Archipel ARPCD 0547
    2014 Dutton Laboratories / Frémeaux & Associés CDLX 7312
    2014 Linn Records CKD 455
    2014 Decca
    2014 ABC Classics 4811322
    2014 RCA Red Seal 88843006072
    2014 Deutsche Grammophon B002092802
    2014 Deutsche Grammophon
    2014 RCA Red Seal 88843011702
    2014 United Audio / United Audio Entertainment TC 53382
    2013 Muso MU 005
    2013 Entertainment Group 6119
    2013 Deutsche Grammophon 4791112
    2013 Deutsche Grammophon
    2013 Fryderyk Chopin Institute NIFCCD 029
    2013 Warner Classics 2564651479
    2013 Entertainment Group 11315
    2013 Entertainment Group 11510
    2013 Navona Records 5929
    2013 ICA Classics ICAB 5114
    2013 Deutsche Grammophon
    2013 Doremi Records DHR 7989
    2013 Oehms Classics OC 090
    2013 RCA Red Seal / Sony Classical 88725462392
    2012 EMI Classics
    2012 EMI Classics 5099967908
    2012 Berlin Classics 0300342BC
    2012 Bella Musica / Zebralution
    2012 Fryderyk Chopin Institute NIFCCD 615
    2012 Broken Audio BRAU 0709
    2012 Warner Classics
    2012 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099967870
    2012 Broken Audio BRAU 0510
    2012 Doron Music 4019
    2012 Dux Records DUX 0833
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    2012 RCA Red Seal 88691928082
    2012 Deutsche Grammophon 4783617
    2012 Melodiya / Melody MELCD 1001994
    2012 Brilliant Classics 94397
    2012 Entertainment Group 11902
    2012 Naxos 8501056
    2012 Decca / Mercury Living Presence 001653302
    2012 APR (Appian) 7503
    2012 Sony Classical 88691912562
    2012 Deutsche Grammophon
    2012 Deutsche Grammophon 4779529
    2012 Deutsche Grammophon 4790058
    2012 Deutsche Grammophon / Universal
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    2011 RCA Red Seal 886919369120
    2011 Dux Records 0832
    2011 Warner Classics
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    2011 ICA Classics ICAC 5045
    2011 Newton Classics 8808083
    2011 Fryderyk Chopin Institute NIFCCD606
    2011 Naxos NBD0011
    2011 Red Bus Classical RCLAS 014
    2011 MDG 9031632
    2011 Fryderyk Chopin Institute NIFCCD602603
    2011 Fryderyk Chopin Institute NIFCCD604605
    2011 Fryderyk Chopin Institute NIFCCD600601
    2011 Zephyr 13509
    2011 Entertainment Group 1206
    2011 Deutsche Grammophon
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    2011 Melodiya / Melodya MELCD 1001819
    2011 The Entertainment Group 1039
    2011 ZYX Music CLABOX 005
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    2011 PentaTone Classics PTC 5186500
    2011 Brilliant Classics 94095
    2011 Fryderyk Chopin Institute NIFCCD000020
    2011 IDIS IDIS 6626
    2010 EMI Classics / EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics 5099945851
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    2010 Dux Records 0741
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    2010 Decca
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    2010 ATMA Classique 22643
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    2010 RPO 28690
    2010 Fryderyk Chopin Institute 200
    2010 Newton Classics 8802008
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    2010 Deutsche Grammophon 4778088
    2010 Classics & Jazz / Deutsche Grammophon
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    2010 Alto / Musical Concepts 1096
    2010 Capriccio Records 7039
    2010 DA Records / Zebralution
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    2009 Sony BMG / Sony Classical 88697577072
    2009 Deutsche Grammophon / Universal Music Classics and Jazz 001382602
    2009 Erato
    2009 Denon Records
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    2009 Bella Musica / Zebralution
    2009 Ars Produktion 38058
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    2009 Brilliant Classics 93256
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    2009 Deutsche Grammophon 477 808-8
    2009 SOMM SOMM061
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    2009 Documents 222913
    2009 Decca 1198
    2009 EMI Classics 13251
    2009 Haenssler 94208
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    2009 Cascade Records 60033
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    2008 ZYX Music CLS 1018
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    2008 Decca 475169
    2008 Mirare 47
    2008 Berlin Classics 0184282
    2008 Deutsche Grammophon / Universal Distribution UCCG 9716
    2008 ZYX Classics 100522
    2008 EMI Music Distribution 5675482
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    2008 Hyperion 44351
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    2008 Deutsche Grammophon 459202
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    2008 Urania 359
    2008 Madacy Entertainment 53749
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    2007 APR (Appian) 5660
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    2007 Verdi Music 55460
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    2007 Music & Arts CD1206
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    2007 HDC 40300
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    2006 BCI Music (Brentwood Communication) 41429
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    2006 Takt 1501/15
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    2006 Brilliant Classics 99668
    2005 Music & Arts 1158
    2005 ATMA Classique 22291
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    2005 MDG 3401267
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    2005 Brilliant 92615
    2005 IRCO 275
    2005 Deutsche Grammophon 4775242
    2005 EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics 7243586826
    2005 Brilliant 92293
    2004 Golden Classics / Madacy 2240
    2004 United Audio Entertai 65072
    2004 Delta Distribution 16318
    2004 Helios / Hyperion 55180
    2004 High Definition Classics 027
    2004 Centurion Classics 2101
    2004 Oehms 326
    2004 EMI Music Distribution 585012
    2004 Brilliant 92118
    2004 Berlin Classics 0013372BC
    2004 EMI Classics 585222
    2004 Rca Red Seal 188678
    2004 Brilliant 92415
    2003 Forlane 16833
    2003 EMI
    2003 Classic Collection 99841
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    2003 Meridian Records 84488
    2003 EMI Music Distribution 74959
    2003 Accord 13
    2003 Essential Classics / St. Clair 31002
    2003 Philips 475029
    2003 Past Perfect 205633
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    2003 History 45515
    2003 IDIS 6397/9
    2002 Deutsche Grammophon 471363
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    2002 Philips 4681172
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    2002 Urania 208
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    2001 EMI Music Distribution 67549
    2001 CD Accord 080
    2001 Classica d'Oro 3006
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    1999 Deutsche Grammophon 463 047-2GCE17
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    1998 The Radio Years 101
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    1996 Testament 1066
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    1994 Intersound 3609
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    1988 Otello 1011
    1987 RCA 5612
    1986 Deutsche Grammophon 415970
    Dux Records KCh15-13
    History 204565
    Virtuoso 2697102
    Iron Needle 1345
    The Piano Library 197
    RFCM Symphony Orchestra
    Philips 468391
    Round Top Records 2
    Tandem Classics 99-09
    Deutsche Grammophon 431579
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    Historical Performers 29
    As Disc 122
    Jecklin 541
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    Preludio 2165
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