The Seven Best Chopin Works, According to YouTube

Frédéric Chopin is one of the most popular composers in classical music history. We all know that his romantic piano works have captured the imaginations of listeners around the world.

But have you ever wondered which of his pieces are the most popular? We went to YouTube to sort Chopin videos by views to find out.

Frédéric Chopin

Frédéric Chopin © ClassicFM

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

– For the purposes of this list, we’re ignoring compilation videos that consist of multiple works by Chopin. We want to narrow our list down to individual works.

– We’re also ignoring videos that are other composers’ works that uploaders have deliberately tagged with Chopin’s name in bad faith just for views.

– This list is accurate as of the spring of 2024. If you’re reading this in the future, maybe some other videos have become more popular!

So without further ado, here is the reverse-ordered list of the seven best Chopin works, according to YouTube viewers:

7. Etude Op. 10, No. 4: “Torrent” – 13 million views

The so-called “Torrent” etude gets its name from the torrent of notes in both left and right hands. It was written in 1830 and published in 1833.

German musicologist Hugo Leichtentritt wrote an accurate, if dizzying, portrait of this etude:

The expression of a restless fierce, almost savage, grim raging: The image of tossed up ocean waves breaking on a rocky coast, thundering and foaming, their spray splashing upwards, licking the rocks and quickly flowing down again…the fascinating interplay of rushing, roaring, murmuring, rumbling, flowing, climbing, jumping, crashing, falling, all this without a single point of rest.

This particular YouTube video is from a channel called Rousseau, which merges video of the pianist’s hands playing the etude from above with a graphic visualization of the score. It’s a fascinating way to absorb the music and the difficulty of the pianist’s task.

6. Piano Concerto No. 1 in E-minor – 17 million views

When he was twenty, Chopin wrote two piano concertos in quick succession. One was in E-minor and the other in F-minor.

Although Chopin wrote the F-minor concerto first, it was published later. That’s why music-lovers today know Chopin’s concerto in E-minor as his first piano concerto.

His first concerto is made up of three movements: a stately, wistful allegro maestoso; a gentle, melancholy Romanze; and a spirited Polish Rondo.

The performance in this video is from the 2015 International Chopin Piano Competition. The soloist is Seong-Jin Cho, a South Korean pianist who would ultimately win the competition that year.

His control and ease at the keyboard are a joy to witness…and seventeen million people agree!

5. Prelude, Opus 28, No. 4 in E-minor – cover by Jimmy Page – 23 million views

Rock star Jimmy Page was born in a London suburb in 1944. He first picked up a guitar at the age of twelve, and by the following year, he was already performing on television.

He appeared in a variety of bands, but the most legendary was Led Zeppelin, which first took to the stage in 1968. Led Zeppelin became one of the most influential bands of the 1970s, and they only stopped performing when drummer John Bonham died after a day of heavy drinking in 1980.

In 1983, Jimmy Page, performing as a solo act, took part in the A.R.M.S. (Action Research for Multiple Sclerosis) Charity Concerts, which raised money for multiple sclerosis research. During these concerts, he began his set with this improvisation on Chopin’s E-minor prelude.

Page’s A.R.M.S. performances became legendary, so it makes sense why it’s one of the most popular Chopin performances on YouTube!

4. Fantaisie Impromptu, Op. 66 – 32 million views

Here’s another Chopin performance from the Rousseau channel featuring visualizations.

The Fantaisie-Impromptu was written in 1834, but it was not published until after Chopin’s death. Historians are still not sure why. Some believe it’s because the work bears notable similarities to both Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata and Ignaz Moscheles’s Impromptu in E-flat major.

However, a persuasive potential answer was uncovered in 1960. That year pianist Arthur Rubinstein bought a manuscript known as the “Album of the Baroness d’Este.” As its name suggests, it had once belonged to Augusta Emma d’Este, a British noblewoman and cousin of Queen Victoria. Inside was a copy of the Fantaisie Impromptu in Chopin’s hand, with the notation “Composed for the Baroness d’Este by Frédéric Chopin,” which suggests that Chopin had given the piece to her and renounced his claim to it.

The Fantasie Impromptu was published in 1855, and it has since become one of Chopin’s best-loved works.

3. Nocturne No. 20 in C-sharp minor – 47 million views

This nocturne was composed in 1830. Its dedication read “To my sister Ludwika as an exercise before beginning the study of my second Concerto.”

When he was terminally ill, Chopin instructed his family to burn his unpublished music after his death. However, in a poetic twist, Ludwika was one of the Chopin family members who decided to disregard his instructions…to the gratitude of music lovers everywhere.

The work was published in 1870, and it eventually became one of Chopin’s most famous.

2. Spring Waltz – 162 million views

Can you believe that one of the most popular Chopin-labeled YouTube videos is not actually by Chopin at all?

In 2017, YouTube user Toms Mucenieks posted a video of a solo piano piece called “Spring Waltz” by Chopin. It became one of the most popular Chopin videos on YouTube, racking up tens of millions of views.

At some point, however, Toms Mucenieks found out that the so-called Spring Waltz by Chopin wasn’t a waltz or by Chopin. It’s actually “Mariage D’amour” by French composer Paul de Senneville.

Toms Mucenieks later updated the title and video description, trying to correct the record: “Unfortunately, if [I] change the name of this video to the correct one, other videos with [the] name ‘Chopin Spring Waltz’ will rise on top (there’s hundreds of them!), so I put this disclaimer on top of [the] description of the most popular video. I truly didn’t want to pour misinformation around. I’m genuinely sorry for inconveniences it caused to you.”

So if you read anything about Chopin’s Spring Waltz online and have no idea what’s being referenced… Chances are the confusion might date back to this video!

1. Nocturne in E-flat major, Op. 9, No. 2 – 239 million views

Here it is, the most popular Chopin piece on YouTube…the E-flat major Nocturne from his opus nine!

Chopin wrote the two nocturnes that make up his opus nine between 1831 and 1832, when he was around the age of twenty.

Camille Marie Pleyel playing the piano

Camille Marie Pleyel playing the piano

Both nocturnes were dedicated to a woman named Marie Pleyel, one of the great pianists of her generation, as well as a love interest of Franz Liszt, Hector Berlioz, and Camille Pleyel, heir to a piano factory. (As you can guess from her name, she married Camille…at least for a while, until she began having extramarital affairs and the two divorced!)

The second nocturne from this set has emerged as the most popular. This performance is coming up on almost 240 million views!

Which of these seven works is your favorite? Are you surprised by any of them?

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