Raindrop Prelude

Polish composer Frédéric Chopin wrote a number of preludes for solo piano, the most famous being his 24 Preludes, a set of short pieces for the piano, one in each of the twenty-four keys. The opus we are learning here is one of them.

The Opus 28 Preludes were commissioned by Chopin's friend, the piano-maker and publisher Camille Pleyel, for 2,000 francs. Chopin wrote them between 1835 and 1839, partly at Valldemossa, Majorca, where he spent the winter of 1838-39 and where he had fled with his lover George Sand and her children to escape the damp Paris weather. He dedicated the preludes to Joseph Christoph Kessler, a German pianist and composer, who ten years earlier, had dedicated his own set of 24 Preludes, Opus 31, to Chopin.

This prelude, known as the "Raindrop Prelude", is the longest of the twenty-four. The weather during their stay in Majorca was apparently very wet and Chopin is said to have composed the piece so that the note repeated throughout the work represented the raindrops, hence the nickname.

In the 1979 James Bond movie Moonraker, when Bond visited Sir Hugo Drax in his chateau, his antagonist was playing this piece on the grand piano.

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