World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Piano Sonata No. 2 (Chopin)

Article Id: WHEBN0001853651
Reproduction Date:

Title: Piano Sonata No. 2 (Chopin)  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Frédéric Chopin, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Piano Sonata No. 3 (Chopin), Piano Sonata No. 32 (Beethoven), Nightfall (album)
Collection: 1839 Compositions, Compositions in B-Flat Minor, Piano Sonatas by Frédéric Chopin
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Piano Sonata No. 2 (Chopin)

Chopin, 1835

Frédéric Chopin's Piano Sonata No. 2 in B minor, Op. 35, popularly known as The Funeral March, was completed in 1839 at Nohant, near Châteauroux in France. However, the third movement, whence comes the sonata's common nickname, had been composed as early as 1837.


  • Movements 1
  • Funeral march 2
  • Influences 3
  • Satie 4
  • References 5
  • Further reading 6
  • External links 7


The sonata comprises four movements:

  1. Grave – Doppio movimento (in B minor and in modified sonata form with the first subject absent in the recapitulation, ending in B major)
  2. Scherzo (in E minor and in ternary form, middle section and ending in G major)
  3. Marche funèbre: Lento (in B minor and in ternary form)
  4. Finale: Presto (in B minor)

The first movement features a stormy opening theme and a gently lyrical second theme. The second movement is a virtuoso scherzo with a more relaxed melodic central section. The third movement begins and ends with the celebrated funeral march in B minor which gives the sonata its nickname, but has a calm interlude in D major. The finale contains a whirlwind of unremitting parallel octaves, with unvarying tempo and dynamics, and not a single rest or chord until the final bars with a sudden fortissimo B octave and a B minor chord ending the whole piece. James Huneker, in his introduction to the American version of Mikuli edition of the Sonatas, quotes Chopin as saying, "The left hand unisono with the right hand are gossiping after the March." Arthur Rubinstein is said to have remarked that the fourth movement is the "wind howling around the gravestones".[1] The Sonata confused contemporary critics, who found it lacked cohesion. Robert Schumann suggested that Chopin had in this sonata "simply bound together four of his most unruly children." (See Schirmer's modern reprint of the Mikuli edition.)

Funeral march

As noted above, the third movement is structured as a funeral march played with a Lento interlude. While the term "funeral march" is perhaps a fitting description of the 3rd movement, complete with the Lento Interlude in D major, the expression "Chopin's Funeral March" is used commonly to describe only the funeral march proper (in B minor). It was played at the graveside during Chopin's own burial at Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.[2]

Henry Wood seems to have made two orchestrations of the Funeral March. One had been played at The Proms on four occasions between 1895 and 1904.[3] On the First Night of the 1907 Proms, 17 August 1907, Wood conducted a new version he had written on learning of the death two days earlier of the renowned violinist Joseph Joachim.[4] In 1933 Sir Edward Elgar transposed it into D minor and transcribed it for full orchestra; its first performance was at his own memorial concert the next year. It was also transcribed for large orchestra by the conductor Leopold Stokowski; this version was recorded for the first time by Matthias Bamert.

The emotive "funeral march" has become well known in popular culture. It was used at the state funerals of John F. Kennedy, Sir Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher and those of Soviet leaders, including Leonid Brezhnev.


The sonata's opening bars allude to Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 32, Op. 111, Beethoven's last. The basic sequence of scherzo, funeral march with trio, and animated, resolving finale, repeats that of Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 12 in A-flat major; however, Chopin's first movement is written in sonata form while Beethoven's first movement is a set of variations on an original theme.[5]


Erik Satie, in the second movement ("of an Edriophthalma") of his "Embryons desséchés" uses a variation on the Funeral March's second theme, which he labels, "Citation de la célèbre mazurka de SCHUBERT" (quotation from the celebrated mazurka of Schubert). There is, of course, no such piece.


  1. ^ Thompson, Damian. "Courage, not madness, is the mark of genius". Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 7 December 2013. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  2. ^ Fryderyk Chopin – A Chronological Biography, accessed 21 May 2007
  3. ^ BBC Proms Archives. Retrieved 21 October 2014
  4. ^ Music Web International. Retrieved 21 October 2014
  5. ^ Petty, Wayne C. (Spring 1999). "Chopin and the Ghost of Beethoven". 19th-Century Music 22 (3): 281–299.  

Further reading


External links

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.