Scherzo No. 1 Op. 20
The First Scherzo was sketched in Vienna in 1831 and then completed when Chopin reached Paris, where he stayed for the rest of his life. It begins in anger with two long-held dissonant chords and continues with the seething agitation of the main idea. Welcome contrast is provided by a song-like middle section, whose main melody, derived from a Polish Christmas carol, is in the inner voice surrounded by a wide-spaced rocking figure. The piece’s two opening chords eventually break into this serenity, and after repetitions of the main material, a portentous chord hammered repeatedly and violently leads to a brilliant crashing close.