Ballade no. 4, Op. 52

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Frédéric Chopin composed his fourth Ballade, Op. 52, in 1842 in Paris. He dedicated it to Baroness Rothschild, who had invited him to play in her residence and introduced him to the Paris aristocracy. According to Schumann, this Ballade was inspired by Mickiewicz's poem 'The Three Budrys'. Chopin may be said to be the creator of the Ballade as a distinct genre, inspiring many musicians (such as Liszt and Brahms) to write their own Ballades. Though the pieces seem to be entirely different between them, analysts have shown that the Ballades share a number of traits, like a mirror reexposition (where the order of the first and second themes are inverted), and the so called ballade meter (a 6/8 or 6/4 meter). A distinguishing feature of this Ballade is its contrapuntal nature, which sets it aside from the others. Of the four, it is considered by many pianists to be the most difficult, technically and musically.

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