This piece of music is the epitome of Chopin’s beautiful cantabile style. My mind drifts to a beautiful place whenever I play this piece late at night.
Lento sostenuto meaning “slow and sustained” is Chopin’s musical directive for this piece where the left hand plays beautiful arpeggios of six semiquavers throughout the entire piece to accompany a right hand which is required to bring out a beautiful and haunting melodic line.
This piece is not difficult to play. However, the challenge to play it well is to be able to bring out the melody in a sustained yet delicate manner while maintaining a good level of legato without any awkward variations in tempo. Crescendos and decrescendos should be very gradual and I believe this is how Chopin would have liked this nocturne played.
Lang Lang included this piece in the program of his debut at Carnegie Hall in New York and I’m so glad he did. There is a famous saying for musicians of all levels – “don’t play the instrument, play the music”.
The piano just happened to be physically there. But for this particular piece, the piano became the conduit between Lang Lang and Chopin’s soul.
I have not encountered another published interpretation on youtube that comes anywhere close to rivaling this sublime performance.
Here is Lang Lang playing Chopin’s Nocturne in D flat major, Opus 27 no. 2
(Listening tip: Use a good set of headphones)