Paul Cantrell’s music blog & podcast
Piano music old and new from a devoted amateur,
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Chopin Nocturne 15.2

It’s organic, and sounds almost improvised — except that it is impossibly perfect in every detail. Its soundscape is vast, deep, and richly pianistic, but look at the construction and you’ll see the spare elegance of Bach. It has a loving tenderness, and a longing, that’s unlike anything else, yet seems instantly familiar. And it’s gorgeous.

What is it? Chopin, of course!

Nocturne Op 15 No 2 (in F sharp major)
Paul Cantrell, piano

In addition to being a masterpiece of music, this is a masterpiece of notation. Thanks to the Sheet Music Archive and the perpetually threatened public domain, there’s a free score for this piece you can download. (It’s not a great engraving, and it has some editorial mangling, but it gives you the idea, at least.) Chopin’s rendering of the ornaments is incredibly nuanced, and the double-stemming in the middle section to create three layers in the right hand is a little touch of genius my fingers are still struggling to realize properly.