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Chopin, Piano Scherzo No. 3 in C-sharp minor, Op. 39 (0'33'')


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After the pungent, robust motives of the principal theme of the Scherzo, played fortissimo and risoluto in double octaves, like a voice from another realm comes the focused, austere music of a chorale, interspersed with airy passages of beguiling sonorities. The chorale returns many times over, and with it those airy garlands of sound. As its song is reprised, it slips from the hard E major into the gentle, but sad and mysterious (uttered sotto voce), E minor. This altered theme concludes with question marks, imbued with mystery and expectation, soaring upwards in the utmost silence. And we have the most beautiful moment in the whole of the Scherzo: the apotheosis of the chorale. Through a sequence of chords that progress calmly upwards (now in C sharp major), the music attains ecstasy.

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