Frederic Chopin
Nocturne No. 20 in C♯ minor


5.0
classic

Review

by vanderb0b USER (63 Reviews)
April 27th, 2010 | 23 replies | 11,330 views


Release Date: 1830 | Tracklist

Review Summary: One of the most expressive pieces of music ever written.

4 of 4 thought this review was well written

In 1945, after years of hiding from Nazi soldiers, Jewish pianist Wladyslaw Szpilman was caught by a German officer and was told to play. Szpilman did not know that the officer would have saved him regardless of the quality of this performance-he thought he was playing for his life. The pianist did not choose to play a giant, technically challenging sonata or some piece commonly to show off, such as Chopin's Fantasie Impromptu. Instead, he played a short, simple nocturne for the simple reason that it's one of the best and most expressive pieces of music ever written.

The piece is short, being only around four to four and a half minutes long, but in this time it conveys more emotions than many skilled composers can convey in their lives. In truth, almost every possible human feeling is in this nocturne-misery, hopelessness, nostalgia, joy, tranquility, and, in some performances, anger. Therefore, one does not need impressive speed and technique to play this composition, but they must be able to play expressively and convincingly for the nocturne to sound natural.

The piece begins with slow, booming, assertive chords which are then repeated, but this time softly, as if they were an echo. Then, a mournful, melancholy, flowing melody enters and then escalates into a brief frenzy filled with despair. After this, a soft melody played by the left hand leads into a innocent and playful passage, which is then repeated, but now in the minor key. The melody is now less jovial, and instead restrained, staid, and pondering. However, this calmness and thoughtfulness is brief, as the nocturne quickly transitions into a loud, lively mazurka, which fades out until only silence is left.

The original, mournful melody plays again, but this time it quickly crescendos into an absolute cacophony filled with anger. This aggravated melody is reminiscent of the final struggle of a dying animal-it is a brief, frantic struggle that quickly dies down. After the outburst, the piece descends into soft, high pitched passages best compared to the sound of wind over a grave.

It is only in the last measure that the piece finally turns to a major key-a small sign of hope.

Honestly, this piece contains a shocking amount of emotion, especially considering it's short length. Most contemporary albums do not convey as much in their entire running times. With that said, this is essential for anyone interested in classical music.



Recent reviews by this author
Alfred Schnittke Gogol SuiteSoundtrack Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Soundtrack Avenue Q - Original Broadway CastAndrew Jackson Jihad People Who Can Eat People are the Luckiest People
Ulcerate The Destroyers of AllCamille Saint-Saens Danse macabre, Op.40
user ratings (18)
Chart.
4.8
classic

Comments:Add a Comment 
vanderb0b
April 27th 2010



3473 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

My first attempt at reviewing classical music. I'm in desperate need of feedback/opinions about this review.

Titan50
April 27th 2010



4588 Comments


Well, you got me interested

PuddlesPuddles
April 27th 2010



4772 Comments


I'm always skeptical when Sputnikers review classical albums because theyre almost always a 5...

But you did explain it and support it greatly

cirq
April 27th 2010



9263 Comments


what MJ said.
this is my favorite Chopin piece

PuddlesPuddles
April 27th 2010



4772 Comments


I don't believe so. He is one of my favorites, don't get me wrong, but he has his great moments and his less than great moments like every other composer

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
April 27th 2010



15019 Comments


nocturnes are pretty great. i'm not a huge fan of listening to them back-to-back (i.e. in a collection), which i'm pretty sure is normal for most people--classical is something i'm just not used to taking in except for small bits, and it can get a little dreary for me. that might just be my problem though.

op. 9 no. 3 in b major allegretto and op. 37 no. 2 in g major andantino are my favorites

Zettel
April 27th 2010



590 Comments


Hi, Vander. Classical musical must be the most difficult genre to review, so you should be well versed on the genre and be an skillful writer; otherwise the review comes up like yours: completely bland and unimaginative.

I do not want to be harsh, but I am pretty sure you are not convinced even for a second of your own review, and it shows. You can not approach this music as you usually do with everything else. That said, it is a decent effort, and cheers for trying.

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
April 27th 2010



15019 Comments


lol

Zettel
April 27th 2010



590 Comments


"Still, the review was competently written and I felt it was sincere"

Absolutely. Sincerity is a valuable attribute. I usually prefer it over anything else.


Xenophanes
Emeritus
April 27th 2010



10593 Comments


Michael Jordan? I thought you left? Well hello then

Jethro42
April 27th 2010



12402 Comments


I'm not specialist to the genre but I'm able to recognize and fully appreciate a masterpiece of art. This is just wow.
Keep on writing some classical reviews man. pos'd

rasputin
April 27th 2010



14540 Comments


chopin is like wow guys

rasputin
April 27th 2010



14540 Comments


roflmao

vanderb0b
April 27th 2010



3473 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thanks for all the feedback.
@Zettel
You know what, I agree completely with you. I'm not confident about this review at all. That said, its probably not my knowledge of the genre that is lacking. I've been playing the piano for almost seven years (I'll be playing Chopin's Op.9 No.2 at a competition in about a month), I listen to a lot of classical music, and I've been to over 150 classical concerts so far. It's probably my rather poor knowledge of English that weakens this review.

Zettel
April 27th 2010



590 Comments


"It's probably my rather poor knowledge of English that weakens this review"

Really? I could not have guessed it, your writing is good (by the way, what is your first language?). But yeah, I understand it could be an issue, which is a shame. Just keep writing, I definitely would read more of your reviews.

Jethro42
April 27th 2010



12402 Comments


Don't worry Vanderbob. Your english is more than good if compared to mine. I'm french and using Sputnik helps me to improve a bit. More than a year ago, when I've written my first review, a user said this to me: ''Keep on practicing and don't be afraid of the language barrier''. Man, I just wish I had more guts to write some other reviews. English is still a bitch for me sometimes. If the site was in french, I would have written a big amount of reviews since then, trust me. All this story just to say.. Keep it up dude.

vanderb0b
April 28th 2010



3473 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

My first language is Russian. I've been speaking in and reading in English for a long time now, so perhaps calling my knowledge of the language "poor" was a slight exaggeration. I speak English competently, but its frequently hard for me to express my ideas, especially through writing.

And Jethro, your English is certainly not bad. There are some slight errors in your reviews, but these aren't very important, so you should definitely review some more. Oh, and I'll definitely write some more reviews.

Jethro42
April 28th 2010



12402 Comments


Much appreciated, buddy. It actually motivates me to take an unfinished review out of the shelves. It always takes to me a ridiculous amount of time and energy for a single review here on Sputnik, but dammit.
I love to write. Oh que oui.

Zettel
April 28th 2010



590 Comments


Jethro:

I would appreciate your stopping by to check my Alcest's Écailles de Lune review I wrote in french. I'm aware it is flawed (I have already made some corrections), but it would be great to have some other opinion, if you have the time, that is.

I would like to write some more in that language, but yes, it also takes me a great deal of time and effort to do so.

Jethro42
April 28th 2010



12402 Comments


Pourquoi pas! Why not! It would be a pleasure.
Wake me, I'm dreamin'..La langue de Molière qui s'exprime sur Sputnik.
Vive le progrès!!




You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy