Five essential works by Chopin

We choose the best pieces by the Polish composer

Five essential works by Chopin


Poland’s national dance is a stately affair, but in Chopin’s hands, it become a passionate statement about his home country. Start with the A-major Polonaise.

Recommended recording:
Maurizio Pollini, Martha Argerich, Anatol Ugorski (piano) DG 477 5430



Chopin’s two books of studies test and stretch a player’s advanced technique. But the music contains depth and feeling.

Recommended recording:
Murray Perahia (piano)
Sony SK61885



Singularly unimpressed with the Viennese ballroom scene, Chopin set about composing his own waltzes, published in 1819, which contain abandon, but a certain wistfulness too.

Recommended recording:
Ingrid Fliter (piano)
EMI 698 3512


Piano Concerto No. 1

Composed shortly before he left Poland, Chopin shows his gift for long-arching melodic lines and filigree piano writing. The second movement, in particular, is ravishing.

Recommended recording:
Krystian Zimerman (piano), Polish Festival Orchestra
DG 459 6842



Chopin puts his heart and soul into these astonishingly powerful works. Don’t be fooled by the title ‘Ballade’ – all four of them contain music of extreme drama and energy, as well as tenderness and lyricism.

Recommended recording:
Evgeny Kissin (piano)
RCA 09026632592

We use cookies to improve your experience of our website. Cookies perform functions like recognising you each time you visit and delivering advertising messages that are relevant to you. Read more here