Chopin's Piano Sonata in B Flat Minor Opus 35 - Compositional background







The handsome Louis XV bourgeois house Nohant in Berry provided the beautiful country setting where Chopin resided in the summer of 1839 with George Sand. Chopin's liaison with Sand had begun in 1838, two years after their introduction by Franz Liszt. This was a time of contentment in Chopin's life. His health was improving following illness in Majorca the preceding winter, he had the comfort of a devoted woman who loved him and understood his compositional frustrations and above all he was free to compose without the daily distractions of running a home. Compositions dating from this period were the G Major Nocturne opus 37, three of the four Mazurkas opus 41 and the F Sharp Major Impromptu opus 36. The other major achievement of this summer was the piano sonata in B flat minor opus 35.


The phase of creativity which began in Majorca with the second Ballade and the twenty-four preludes opus 28 continued in Marseilles with the C Sharp Minor Scherzo opus 39. The ideal working conditions at Nohant offered Chopin the opportunity to extend this productive phase; [3] it is widely known that he composed little during the ensuing eighteen months in Paris. Sand noted his manner of working at the country residence:


[3] Chopin returned many times to Nohant for the summer in the early 1840s; many of his masterpieces were composed there e.g., the third Ballade, the Fantasy opus 49, and the F sharp Minor Polonaise opus 44.


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