Episode 119: Chopin's Fraternal Twins

Nocturne in C-sharp minor, Op. 27, No. 1; Nocturne in D-flat Major, Op. 27, No. 2

Chopin's Fraternal TwinsSimilarly born, utterly different, equally brilliant. Chopin completed his two Opus 27 nocturnes—his third set of nocturnes — three years into his sojourn in Paris. Both are considered among his very best compositions, let alone his finest nocturnes.

And, like so many of Chopin’s works, celestially balanced. Think of the first as a sculptural solid; the second, a shimmering liquid.

The first, in the melancholy key of C-sharp minor, gets its “oomph” from the Chopin’s patented contrasts in three-part form: a morbid opening figure…followed by a passionate outbreak in the middle… and then a return to the opening figure, the kind of delicious tragedy only Chopin could compose.

The second nocturne sails in on the same note (now D-flat), but an entirely different key and mood. And all the sweeter somehow, for what’s come before. And truly water-borne, at least to two centuries’ worth of critics....and James Bond filmmakers. Chopin’s nocturne plays a cameo in “The Spy Who Loved Me,” to accompany Bond’s deep-sea drive – as well as his other underwater pastimes.

Two synergistic stars inhabit Chopin’s Opus 27 constellation: Fraternal twins as different from and as enhanced by the other as… night and day. - Jennifer Foster

Radio Chopin Episode 119: Chopin's Fraternal Twins



Nocturne in C-sharp minor, Op. 27, No. 1



Nocturne in D-flat Major, Op. 27, No. 2