12 February 2020
By Ellie Palmer
The piano has long been seen as an instrument full of romance and chemistry given the unending combinations of beautiful sounds it holds within.
Over the years, composers have plucked out the most stunning chords, melodies and rhythms and composed as whole variety of gorgeous romantic music.
We’ve picked out a selection of our favourites for you. Let’s start with some Brahms…
Brahms – Lullaby
Most of you will recognise this gorgeous piece. We feature a simplified beginners arrangement inside issue 97. It’s an arrangement that rocks gently in triple time like a slow waltz.
A waltz, you say?
Perfect for a little after-dinner dance, then.
Borodin – Polovstian Dance No 17
Lento e espressivo.
That is the marking which appears at the start of the piece, and it means ‘slow and expressive’. The perfect tempo for a dance, just like the Brahms piece above.
The Polovstian Dances were composed for an interlude in Borodin’s opera Prince Igor. Borodin doubled as a chemist when not composing music. He made some highly important contributions to organic chemistry. In his mind, he was a chemist first and a composer second.
His love of chemistry certainly spilled over into his compositional works; Polovstian Dance No 17 is full of it.
MacDowell – To a Wild Rose
This is the first piece in MacDowell’s piano suite Woodland Sketches, which dates from 1896. It’s a piece that masters simplicity and tenderness. Take a listen through and you’ll notice how MacDowell always seems to choose the perfect following note; there’s an aura of completeness and satisfaction about it.
Chopin – Prélude Op 28 No 15, ‘Raindrop’
According to the not entirely reliable memoirs of Chopin’s lover George Sand, this Prélude was first imagined in a dream where the composer saw himself drown in a lake.
Don’t let that put you off; put your own story behind the piece!
Debussy – Clair de lune
An iconic piece from Debussy. Clair de lune translates to ‘moonlight’ in French, and what better way to serenade your loved one than to perform this piece in the evening moonlight. Debussy was inspired to compose the piece after reading a French poem written by Paul Verlaine.
The poem begins with the line, ‘Your soul is a chosen landscape, where charming masquerades and dancers are promenading.’
If you’re going to learn any piece from this list, Clair de lune must be your number one choice, without a doubt.
We LOVE Lang Lang’s performance of the piece below.
Liszt – Un sospiro
A piece considered by many as one of the most beautiful ever composed.
It is characterised by an almost ever-present, continuous crossing of hands throughout which creates an uninterrupted flow of music. It begins to breathe towards the end, slowing down with some delightful extended chords.