Piano 4-hand/two pianos
Rondo for Two Pianos Op. 73
This early piece was originally intended as a piano solo. Chopin arranged it for two pianos in 1828, but did not seek to publish the work in either its original version or the two-piano version. It was published in Berlin in 1855 and it is his only surviving piece composed for a two-piano duet. It begins with an introduction, and continues with passages and themes that show contrast between light and dark, playful and mysterious, and forceful and lyrical. An impressive, virtuosic coda brings the work to a brilliant end.
Introduction, Theme, and Variations for 4 hands on a theme by Thomas Moore
This very early work of Chopin was likely written when the composer was about sixteen years old. Chopin was quite smitten with this charming theme, which actually appears to be an Italian song. It is attributed to Irish poet Thomas Moore because he included the song in a collection published at the beginning of the nineteenth century. In Chopin’s piece there is an introduction, five variations, and a finale. The writing covers the gamut from simple presentation to more virtuosic playing intended to show off the players’ dexterity, but only the barest hints of the mature Chopin are in evidence here.
Grand Duo Concertante on Themes from Meyerbeer’s Robert le diable
Parisian society was quite taken with Giacomo Meyerbeer’s opera Robert le diable when it premiered in that city at the end of 1831. Chopin too, who had barely been in Paris for two months at the time, was impressed by the work. In 1832, Chopin and cellist Auguste Franchomme collaborated on a virtuosic piece featuring themes from Meyerbeer’s opera. Although it begins with a brillante piano solo, and explores three themes from the opera, it doesn’t fit well with Chopin’s style, and indeed, the composer omitted it from his own list of compositions. Still, the collaboration helped forge a strong friendship between Chopin and Franchomme, who would become the dedicatee of Chopin’s Cello Sonata in 1846. In the 1830s, Chopin would arrange the Grand Duo Concertante for four-hand piano.