The Ballades, Op. 10, are dated 1854 and were dedicated by Brahms to his friend Julius Otto Grimm.Their composition coincided with the beginning of the composer’s lifelong affection for Clara Schumann who was helping Brahms launch his career.The four ballades are arranged in two pairs of two, the members of each pair being in parallel keys. The first ballade was inspired by a Scottish poem “Edward ” found in a collection Stimmen der Völker in ihren Liedern compiled by Johann Gottfried Herder. It’s open fifths, octaves, and simple triadic harmonies are supposed to evoke the sense of a mythological past.
D minor. Andante
D major. Andante
B minor. Intermezzo. Allegro
B major. Andante con moto
Brahms returned to the wordless ballade form in writing the third of the Six pieces op.118.His Op. 75 vocal duets titled “Ballads and Romances” include a setting of the poem “Edward”—the same that inspired Op. 10, No. 1.
Chopin wrote his 24 Préludes op 28 between 1835 and 1839, partly at Valldemossa Mallorca where he spent the winter of 1838–39 and where he had fled with George Sand and her children to escape the damp Paris weather.In Majorca, Chopin had a copy of Bach’s 48 , and as in each of Bach’s two sets of preludes and fugues , his Op. 28 set comprises a complete cycle of the major and minor keys, albeit with a different ordering.The brevity and apparent lack of formal structure in the Op. 28 set caused some consternation among critics at the time of their publication.No prelude is longer than 90 bars (No. 17), and the shortest (No. 7) is ca. 45 sec. and No. 9 is a mere 12 bars (but 1m25s). Schumann said: “they are sketches, beginnings of études or, so to speak, ruins, individual eagle pinions, all disorder and wild confusions.”Liszt’s opinion, however, was more positive: “Chopin’s Preludes are compositions of an order entirely apart… they are poetic preludes, analogous to those of a great contemporary poet, who cradles the soul in golden dreams…”
Multi-award-winning pianist Amit Yahav is much in demand as a recitalist, chamber musician and concerto soloist, having earned his reputation for interpretations that grip and move audiences with passion and intellectual insight. His interpretations of the music of Chopin and Schumann in particular have received high praise. In 2018, he earned a Doctor of Music degree from the Royal College of Music for his thesis investigating interpretation in the music of Chopin. Amongst Amit’s success are the Anthony Lindsay Piano Prize and the György Solti Award for Professional Development. Amit also won the 1st International Israeli Music Competition in London and consequently performed Israeli composer Zvi Avni’s On the Verge of Time in London’s Southbank Centre in the presence of the composer. In 2014, Amit attracted much positive attention with his CD “Amit Yahav Plays Chopin“, containing the four Ballades. This release followed Amit’s tour showcasing the four Ballades in an explained recital, which was also selected by the Royal College of Music as part of their Insight Series of soirees offered to their donors. Most recently, his newest disc featuring Romantic piano fantasies by Mendelssohn, Schumann and Chopin appeared on the GENUIN label.