Following the recent Chopin Piano Concerto experience, I decided to listen to the 2nd Concerto (the one he wrote in F minor – one now has to choose words carefully) when on the commute or coming into or from the hospital at night. On two journeys I started the first movement. The first time we were in F minor until the piano got to its iteration of the 2nd subject which should have been in A flat major but was now in A major, the sharps in the chords almost visible to my mind’s eye. No doubt about the shift; we were up a semitone with F sharp minor now the home key. The second time this shift occurred within a few bars of the opening. And the other two movements, listened to on later journeys, were firmly a semitone up. The slow movement lyrically in A major (but not silky and smooth as the written key of A flat major would have been); the 3rd in a spiky F sharp minor, ending as if to prove that the shift in tonal sense is full and final in a sharp-splattered F sharp major. Even the horn calls were in this key, a key not designed for horns. I am sure Chopin chose the instrument for these signature calls because he was ending his concerto in their home key of F major. Everyone hunts in F – ask Vivaldi.

And today, as if to put the last nail in the coffin, Weber’s 1st Clarinet concerto (F minor) sounded in F sharp minor. No one would ever write a romantic clarinet concerto in that key. But my brain has re-written it, ignoring the kaibosh.