Chopin – 24 préludes


In a way, Chopin copied Bach with this work. He created these short piano works between 1835 and 1839, mostly in Paris. It was a copy of what Bach did more than a century earlier. Bach did it twice, and in the cycle he went around all the 24 possible keys in modern music. Chopin did it once, but change the order slightly: where Bach went around the circle one step at a time, Chopin skipped tones and went around in fifths. The difference is that Chopin’s order feels a bit more related, more natural to our ears. 

When Bach wrote his cycle, he called it well tempered, and it was revolutionary. It was almost like a demonstration of the powers of a newly found instrument. Chopin’s work was not meant to be played as a complete cycle. In fact, during his lifetime it was usually played in small series of no more than four. Also, the consistency is broken because the works vary widely in length: from less than half a minute to more than four. 

Swiss-Hungarian pianist Géza Anda was best known for his interpretations of Mozart. He was mostly active in the early decades of the twentieth century, and died in 1976. 

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