The first study of this volume looks for reminiscences of Dies Irae in Chopin's works. A great number of allusions and affinities are found in the preludes as well as in Chopin's output. The study also yields insights into Chopin's composition method. These intertextual findings are used in an attempt to establish the extra-musical content of the Second Ballade. Five preludes - A minor, E minor, B minor, A major and C minor - are closely examined, using diverse analytical approaches. A primary concern is to critically assess previous readings, and Schenkerian ones in particular. An analysis of the initial right-hand passage of the F-minor etude from Methode brings up matters of idiomatic and ontology.