Between 1843-1844, Chopin started working on a new masterwork, the berceuse. A berceuse, is a musical piece in 6/8, which has a lullaby characteristic. Chopin actually wanted to name this peice “Variantes”, because most of the piece is base on variations upon a rocking-lullaby left hand chords, but for publicity reasons, the name was altered afterwards to “berceuse”.
The piece is very calm and tranquil, and i must say that i behold this piece as a gateway to the impressionist musical/art movement which came later. This is a musical piece which preceded it’s time, it is a masterpiece of improvisation and variations. This piece gives us a very good demonstration of the last style of Chopin’s musical evolution. His use of building the melodies in this piece is genius per-se. In the start of the piece, when the first melody appears, it starts at the most natural way, but as the piece continues, the variations come, and each time take the music more more forwards, and this mental building of tension and emotion in the piece was never heard before.
The berceuse is written in D flat, which has a dream like quality, and gets you straight into the mystical atmosphere of the music. An interesting note, which gives this piece even more attention, is the fact that this is the only piece that Chopin wrote the variations genre, which also the main motive had been written by him ( Chopin wrote some variations, but they were on other composers music, this is the one and only true form and variations which Chopin wrote).
The piece was published at last under the name “berceuse”, in 1845, and the public reacted with spontaneous good reviews about it. The manuscript of this piece, is one of Chopin’s most interesting, and has a lot of information stored in it.
It is actually one of Chopin’s more clean manuscript. Chopin had a tendency to make a lot of revisions to his music, but this manuscript shows that when he wrote this piece it came to him in a big muse.
This article was written by Shaul Hadar, one of Chopin’s biggest admirers.
Shaul hadar is a professional musician and chopin admirer. You can read more of Shaul’s articles on Chopin at: http://chopin-opus.22web.net