Polish composer Frédéric Chopin wrote this piece shortly after he moved to Paris. It was later dubbed "Tristesse" - meaning "sadness" - although not by the composer. It is highly regarded as a manifestation of Chopin's love for his home country of Poland. In later years one of Chopin's pupils, Adolf Gutman, reported that during a class, while he was demonstrating this piece, the composer broke down in tears crying "Oh my homeland!"
Some music critics believe the composer may have been thinking of Konstancja Gladkowska, a student singer at the Warsaw Conservatory when he composed this piece. Before Chopin emigrated from Poland, he was very much in love with her.
Chopin himself is reported to have said of this piece: "In all my life I have never again been able to find such a beautiful melody."
The "Tristesse" melody has been extensively borrowed by many popular performers, including Jo Stafford for her 1950 hit "No Other Love." Such diverse performers as Serge Gainsbourg, Sarah Brightman and Ken Dodd have also used the theme.