Étude Op. 10, No. 3, in E major, is the first piece to appear here from Polish composer Frédéric Chopin. He was a virtuoso pianist from the Romantic period who wrote primarily for piano. Today’s piece was first published in 1833 in France, Germany, and England as the third piece of his Études Op. 10. This is a slow cantabile study for polyphonic and expressive legato playing.
Despite achieving worldwide fame as a leading musician Chopin only lived until 39 years old. He was a child prodigy and completed his music education at age 20 and left Warsaw for Paris, France. He gave just 30 public performances preferring the intimacy of the salon. For most of his life, Chopin was in poor health and died in Paris in 1849 probably of pericarditis aggravated by tuberculosis.
Chopin himself believed today’s piece to be the most beautiful he had ever written. He told his German pupil that he “had never in his life written another such beautiful melody” and on one occasion when his student was studying it the master lifted his arms with his hands clasped and exclaimed: ‘O, my fatherland!’ Personally, my favourite by Chopin is Nocturne op.9 No.2. This étude is sometimes identified by the names “Tristesse” (Sadness) or “Farewell (L’Adieu)”, neither is a name given by Chopin, but rather his critics.