Andante spianato et grande polonaise brillante in E-flat major, Op. 22, was composed by Frédéric Chopin between 1830 and 1834. The Grande polonaise brillante in E-flat, set for piano and orchestra, was written first, in 1830-31. In 1834, Chopin wrote an Andante spianato in G, for piano solo, which he added to the start of the piece, and joined the two parts with a fanfare-like sequence. The combined work was published in 1836, and was dedicated to Madame d'Este.
The Grande polonaise brillante is a work for piano and orchestra, although the piano part is often played on its own. The Andante spianato (spianato means "even" or "smooth") for solo piano was composed as an introduction to the polonaise after Chopin received a long-awaited invitation to perform in one of Habeneck’s Conservatoire Concerts in Paris. This was the only time Chopin had ever used the term spianato as a description for any of his works.
Chopin’s first work, written at age seven, had been a polonaise. The Grande polonaise brillante of 1830–31 was to be the last such he would compose for several years. It preoccupied Chopin in his final months at Warsaw. It was finished at Vienna in 1831.
- Andante spianato in G major
The quiet rippling effects of this introductory section are borne in a gentle 6/8, rounded with a chordal trio, and a more processional 3/4. The serene middle section (in G major) is not a trio, but only a contrasting episode to complement the overall texture of the movement.
- Grande polonaise brillante in E-flat major
The polonaise opens in fanfare and moves into an ebullient dance form. In 1836, it was arranged as a piano quartet and, two years later, the solo piano work known today.
The grande polonaise brillante is among Chopin's most technically demanding pieces. Technical aspects include:
- fast descending thirds
- rapid, difficult octave and chord jumps
- trills with thirds
- quick scales
- fast arpeggios in both hands
- broken chords
- use of a wide range of the piano keyboard.
In popular culture
The 2002 film The Pianist concludes with this polonaise.