Chopin - Prelude in E Minor, Op. 28 No. 4

This is one of Chopin's most mournful works has lived long in the memory thanks to Jack Nicholson, or all people.

Frederic Chopin

When you think of Chopin, you don't necessarily think of incurable sadness and mournful melodies. That's not to say that the Polish master of the piano wasn't capable of knowing out an affectingly sad tune, but he's generally more known for his quirkier, more upbeat works for the instrument.

Well, if you've come this far without hearing Chopin's Prelude in E Minor (Op. 28, No. 4) then you'd better make sure you've got a hanky ready. This delicate, sloping movement is one of the composer's saddest works, but it's partly down to one of the world's most famous actors that this work is associated with such melancholy.

Jack Nicholson starred in the 1970 movie Five Easy Pieces, in which he played a wandering pianist struggling to come to terms with his father's lofty expectations of him. In one of the movie's key scenes, Nicholson plays this very prelude in a surprisingly heartbreaking fashion.

Video: Jack Nicholson plays Chopin