1838: Chopin: Raindrop Prelude: Op. 28 No. 15

SUNDAY, September 13, 2020 – 8:12 AM

The Raindrop Prelude

Chopin wrote  a set of 24 Preludes in 1838, one for each major and minor key, inspired by Bach’s Well Tempered Clavier.

The is No. 15, the so called Raindrop Prelude. That was not Chopin’s name for this composition but rather someone else’s nickname. However, that nickname stuck. The prelude has a persistent repeated note that lasts for the whole piece. That sounds like a dreadfully boring idea to me, but it somehow works – in fact quite brilliantly.

Popular for 180 years…

This whole set of Preludes was written between 1835 and 1839, and most people believe they were completed in 1838. Since they have been famous ever since, we can see that this popularity started a long time ago. If you want to get an idea of just how popular some older composition is, simply search for it in YouTube and see how many different people are shown playing it.

An unusual performance…

Horowitz in this recording played the repeated note in the middle section, at least at the beginning, with what sounds like no sustain pedal. This makes it much harder because everything in the left hand has to somehow be connected, which quite possibly necessitated redistribution of the notes.

This performance is my choice because of the tone color…

There are countless other recordings, but I like this one the best.

11 thoughts on “1838: Chopin: Raindrop Prelude: Op. 28 No. 15

  1. After hearing it the first time, I had this impression: Not a piece of music I would like to learn to play. With its ups and downs, feels kind of easy to play by ear.

    Then, I focus on hearing it, and like the intro section up to the 1:39 minutes and after 4:10. It is like going from a sunny day to a stormy one and back. I didn’t like the middle section; I would have played it differently.

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