Five essential works by Chopin



Poland’s national dance is a stately affair, but in Chopin’s hands, it become a passionate statement about his home country. Start with the A-major Polonaise.

Recommended recording:
Maurizio Pollini, Martha Argerich, Anatol Ugorski (piano) DG 477 5430



Chopin’s two books of studies test and stretch a player’s advanced technique. But the music contains depth and feeling.

Recommended recording:
Murray Perahia (piano)
Sony SK61885



Singularly unimpressed with the Viennese ballroom scene, Chopin set about composing his own waltzes, published in 1819, which contain abandon, but a certain wistfulness too.

Recommended recording:
Ingrid Fliter (piano)
EMI 698 3512


Piano Concerto No. 1

Composed shortly before he left Poland, Chopin shows his gift for long-arching melodic lines and filigree piano writing. The second movement, in particular, is ravishing.

Recommended recording:
Krystian Zimerman (piano), Polish Festival Orchestra
DG 459 6842



Chopin puts his heart and soul into these astonishingly powerful works. Don’t be fooled by the title ‘Ballade’ – all four of them contain music of extreme drama and energy, as well as tenderness and lyricism.

Recommended recording:
Evgeny Kissin (piano)
RCA 09026632592