Chopin’s Runaway Hit
From early childhood, he lived amidst artistry belonging to a family of artists. He was a piano poet, making up tunes by age 6. A child prodigy, he was frequently invited to perform at soirees. He was sent by his family to Vienna for conservatory studies where he gained a following from his successful concerts. And then he arrived in Paris where fantasies come true. Frederic Chopin lived a posh lifestyle in Paris which he paid for with teaching, composing, and piano recitals. He had students who were from well to do families, a favor he was able to acquire upon his introduction to the Rothschild banking scions. That being said, Fantasie Impromptu Op.66 may have been commissioned and paid for by the Baroness d’Este. He did not publish it as part of his body of works and forbade people from publishing it. It was posthumously published by Julian Fontana. Fantasie Impromptu Op.66 “The Rubenstein Edition” (published 1962) was the copy bought from a Paris auction by Arthur Rubenstein. Rubenstein had bought the “Album of Baroness d’Este”, which had on its title page the phrase "Composed for the Baroness d'Este by Frédéric Chopin" (in French) and Fantasie Impromptu Op.66, so this was possibly one of his commissioned works. Although it has been authenticated, it doesn’t adequately explain his reluctance to have it published. However, thanks to the efforts of other individuals to publish it, it has become one of his most-popular pieces. Fantasie Impromptu’s first and third movements are in C# minor, the middle is in D♭ major. It begins on a tempo Allegro Agitato, then it becomes a largo. By the time it changes to D♭ major, it has become moderato cantabile. Reverting to the C# minor of the first movement it also becomes tempo Allegro Agitato again. Losing its evocative trills, it rolls to a quiet, fluid, gentle ending.