Lento… and other works
This album contains a collection of some well-known and important works by Frederic Chopin selected by the Japanese pianist Yuko Kawai. The range of presented music forms, which include a lyrical miniature, dance stylizations, etudes, a ballade and the masterpiece Sonata in B Minor, substantially characterize Chopin’s output. The material recorded here distinguishes the National Edition from all other editions; its peculiar character deserves some more attention.
Let us first explain the meaning of the letters WN added to the titles Lento and Mazurka in F Minor. The works of unquestionable authorship published after Chopin’s death were arranged chronologically in the National Edition, in the same manner as those marked with opuses. They were given parallel numbers, from WN 1 to WN 65 (WN stands for Wydanie Narodowe, meaning ‘the National Edition’ in Polish). Previously, posthumous works were numbered as a continuation of Chopin’s numbering, which wrongly suggested that posthumous opuses related to works written in the last years of the composer’s life.
The material recorded in this album opens with the earlier version of Lento and closes with the later version of Lento, which form a kind of frame. Although called a nocturne, Lento is only to some extent a nocturne. The nocturnal texture and character constitute but a framework of this sixty-five-stave miniature piece, while the middle part consists of four modified self-quotations from two works: the Piano Concert in F Minor and the song Wish (Życzenie), combined together. Dedicated to the composer’s sister Ludwika, Lento was revised several years later and along with other works enclosed in the album Maria it was sent to Maria Wodzińska.