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  • Ayanthi Anandagoda

Chopin Prelude in E minor (op 28 no 4): Farewell Music

Updated: Mar 14



'When the eyes can see neither notes nor keys, only then does the hearing function with all its sensitivity': Frédéric Chopin.


The set of 24 preludes were first published in 1839. The most well-known of the preludes is this prelude in E minor. Known as farewell music, Chopin requested that it should be played at his funeral. It is a sad, mournful piece that sounds not unlike a funeral dirge.


With its minor key, descending chords and the fact that the music dies away (as per notation), conveys an almost overwhelming sense of despair. The sound stay quiet and timid even in the deep notes. The rush of obsessive, dark, uneasy emotion conveyed through the left hand accompaniment which threatens to erupt uncontrollably drives this piece.


The irresistible charm of Chopin compositions shaded with infinite subtlety of tone and colour, had most definitely captured Debussy when he stated 'Chopin is the greatest of us all'.

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