"Songs of the night", "piano bel canto": such is how Chopin's nocturnes are usually described. They are piano miniatures among the most well known and most beautiful of Chopin's works. The nocturne, perfectly suited to the mood of the era, evokes with its very name romantic images of the night, the moon, and all the shades of lyrical and dramatic expression associated with them. Its poetry is shaped by an atmosphere of intimacy and reverie. As a style, it was popular during the Romantic Era, but it was Chopin, above all, who raised the nocturne to the pinnacle of poetry, becoming its most celebrated master.
This edition contains eighteen nocturnes by Chopin. Of the variants in musical notation, those designated 'ossia' were marked in this way by Chopin himself or inscribed in his hand in pupils' copies, while those without this indication result from textual divergences in authentic copies or from difficulties in reading the text in an unambiguous way.