He used his creative imagination to bring Chopin back from beyond the grave. Pianist Alan Kogosowski completes and plays a concerto that Chopin did not finish: his Concerto Number 3.

1 October 2020 By Paul Martin

The Chopin Piano Concerto No. 3 was premiered in 1999 to mark the 150th anniversary of the death of Chopin, with Kogosowski as soloist, under the baton of maestro Neeme Jarvi, with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

The Allegro was most likely composed in the early 1830s, shortly after the two well-known concertos, in F minor and E minor. Its style and structure readily suggest its adaptability to a succession of contrasting solo and orchestral sections mandatory for a concerto of the period.

Concertos were occasionally performed in part or whole as solo pieces: at Chopin’s Paris debut concert in February 1832 at the Salle Pleyel, he performed the F minor concerto as a solo. He is also believed to have performed the Allegro of the new concerto as a solo at a soiree given by his Paris publisher Maurice Schlesinger in 1834.

Building on these facts, Kogosowski has orchestrated the Allegro de Concert, filling out its formal structure with a second subject taken from the introductory section. He has employed an orchestral ensemble identical to Chopin’s two published concertos, with the addition of a second trombone.

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For the finale, Kogosowski made a calculated and educated leap of imagination to choose the glittering Bolero in A minor/major (same key as the Allegro–an unusual one for Chopin), Op.19, which is a solo piece of the same period, 1834 , one that fits into no category.

It has a rondo form typical of that found in the finale of a concerto, and a ready-made cadenza. It provides a fitting conclusion to a beautiful work that would otherwise have remained unperformed and hardly known.

Listen to a few excerpts from the concerto, as played by Alan Kogosowski:

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