COMPOSITIONS compositions


The Mazurka in A minor, published by Fontana as the fourth in the opus 67 set, is known to us from two separate manuscripts. One of them is dated November 1847, the other 1846. The latter once belonged to Johannes Brahms.

This Mazurka is one of seven which Chopin composed in the key of A minor. It cannot be said, however, to compare to those which the composer had published, deeming them worthy of print, such as the second of Op. 7, the fourth of Op. 17 or the first of Op. 59. But it is well-formed and graceful, of simple design (strictly reprise), modest and unpretentious. It derives from the kujawiak tradition.

The opening theme is built from a series of two-bar falling phrases with a distinctly drawn melody. It is complemented by another series of phrases that bring a subtly (delicatissimo) expressed response to that challenge.

The part resembling the former trio (in the parallel key of A major) brings for a moment a brighter shading and also a greater songfulness and fluency than hitherto. It is woven from a motif, to the rhythm of which the narration of a waltz could happily proceed. This is a period when those two genres (mazurka and waltz) moved closer to one another in the Chopin oeuvre.

In some pianistic interpretations, we can hear in the A minor Mazurka a tone close to that which is emanated by more or less contemporaneous mazurkas (in F minor and in C sharp minor) from opus 63 (the last mazurka opus published during the composer’s lifetime). The eminent Chopin monographer and editor Ludwik Bronarski called that tone one of quiet resignation.

Author: Mieczysław Tomaszewski
[Cykl audycji "Fryderyka Chopina Dzieła Wszystkie"]
Polish Radio, program II


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Mazurka in A minor [Op. 67 No. 4]
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