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Chopin's First Tragedy: Nocturne, op. 72 no. 1

In this third and final episode of Bach@Home dedicated to the childhood and youth of Fryderyk Chopin, pianist Magdalena Baczewska talks about the "expensive fiasco," Chopin's trip to a spa town of Duszniki-Zdrój. You will learn about Chopin's composition teacher Józef Elsner, about the inspiration Chopin found in the nocturnes of John Field, and how the teenage composer took the genre to the next level. You will learn about Chopin's sisters, the youngest of whom died of tuberculosis at age 14. As always, you will hear the music: Nocturne, op. 72 no. 2 in E minor that Chopin wrote around the time he lost his beloved little sister Emilia. You will learn about the bel canto (beautiful singing) technique that lies at the center of the nocturne, the inner workings of Chopin's youthful piece, and what nocturne as a genre means in the context of the 19th-century art music.

Magdalena Baczewska is the Director of the Music Performance Program and member of Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Columbia University. For more info, visit

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