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Episode 76: Chopin's 'Lost' Concerto

Allegro de Concert in A Major, Op. 46

rc-lost-200You can really see how it might’ve been orchestrated in the future…the colors and textures that are there in the opening writing.  -  Orion Weiss

Fryderyk Chopin arrived in Paris with two piano concertos in his portfolio. And somewhere along the way he started a third. First, it was going to be for TWO pianos. Then he settled for one. Until Chopin’s father suggested he put it away. “Don’t bother too much,” Nicholas Chopin wrote to his son, “your health might sustain an injury through the worry entailed in its completion.”

Seven years later, Chopin recycled what he’d done into one of the oddest – and hardest – of ALL his works: the Allegro De Concert, Opus 46. It’s essentially a concerto for solo piano.

It’s incredibly difficult…There are some really gnarly passages that are…just…you know, a pain, a real pain.. but it’s pretty cool.

Pianist Orion Weiss is one of the few pianists who’s taken up Chopin’s strange creation:

There are clear distinctions between orchestra and piano in that there’s a long orchestra introduction…and then there’s a little bit of a woodwind solo and the piano comes in above that, and then when the piano comes in it’s very much this kind of improvisatory-sounding piano solo entrance.

It’s beautiful… It’s got some great tunes. Maybe not AS great as the concertos that were orchestrated, but it’s got a real charm to it.

Charming, bold, expressive, and in the words of one biographer, “a powerful and more manly composition than either of his two concertos.” Maybe so, but it was premiered by a woman – Chopin’s start pupil Frederica Mueller. Forever after dubbed “Mademoiselle opus Quarante-Six” - that is, “Forty Six” - by Franz Liszt. - Joe Brant & Benjamin K. Roe


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Radio Chopin Episode 76: Chopin's 'Lost' Concerto

Allegro de Concert in A Major, Op. 46

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