Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2
Though he published it second, Chopin’s Piano Concerto in F minor was actually the first concerto he composed. After a surprisingly successful impromptu solo debut in Vienna, the nineteen-year-old composer returned home to Warsaw to compose a concerto that he could play on tours in the future. Chopin completed it during the fall of 1829 and gave the premiere in Warsaw the following March, where it was enthusiastically received.
Chopin at 25, by his fiancée Maria Wodzińska, 1835.
In a letter to a friend, Chopin confessed that the slow second movement of the concerto was inspired by Konstancja Gladkowska, a young singer who was a classmate of his at the conservatory in Warsaw: “Perhaps to my misfortune, I have met my ideal and have served her faithfully for six months, without speaking to her about my feelings. I dream about it: under her inspiration, the adagio of my Concerto in F minor and, this morning, the little waltz that I’m sending you [the Waltz in B minor, Op. 69 No. 2], have been born….I tell to the piano what I confide to you.”
Unfortunately for the shy composer, this music is all that came of his unspoken infatuation. Many critics continue to regard this movement as one of his loveliest creations, comparing it to the nocturnes he would compose later.