The third movement of Frédéric Chopin’s Sonata No. 2 in B Flat Minor, Op. 35 – better known as his “Marche funèbre,” or funeral march – is one of the most iconic pieces of music ever written about death. Historians believe this somber movement was inspired, at least in part, by the November Uprising, a Polish rebellion against the Russian Empire that left roughly 40,000 Polish soldiers killed or wounded. In addition to being part of Chopin’s own funeral, “Marche funèbre” played at the funeral processions of John F. Kennedy, Sir Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher, and, ironically enough, Leonid Brezhnev and Joseph Stalin.
While it’s impossible to reverse time or bring any of these historical figures back to life, you can listen to Chopin’s funeral march backwards, thanks to the YouTube channel Cosmic Ferret and the magic of modern audio editing techniques.
When a recording of “Marche funèbre” is played in reverse, the piece sounds morose in a different way than Chopin may have intended. It sounds as if it could even be the soundtrack to your favorite sci-fi film. “Zone out and watch my stuff,” Cosmic Ferret suggests in its YouTube channel description – and given the animation that accompanies this take on Chopin’s funeral march, that shouldn’t be too hard to do. Enjoy the video below.
And if you want to hear the original, check out this performance by Evgeny Kissin: