COMPOSITIONS compositions

Mazurka in F sharp minor, incypit

Genre: Mazurka

Key: F-sharp minor

Opus/WN: Op. 6 No. 1

Creation date: 1830-1831

Acc. to Paderewski: X/1

Acc. to Turło: 51

Instruments: piano

Composition dedicated to:

Ferdynand Hiller
Pauline Plater


At the head of his opus 6, Chopin placed a Mazurka in F sharp minor – the very one which, with its initial theme, ushers in that new style which is so very characteristic of Chopin. At the same time, there is no doubt that we have before us, albeit poeticised and sublimated, a kujawiak, with its melodic rubato and rocking dance motion. A kujawiak furnished with a most sophisticated harmonisation, such as one would be hard pressed to find in rural music. The Mazurka’s second theme brings vigour and panache and a series of accents typical of a heel-clicking mazur (bars 16–24). Finally, the third theme, its character specified as scherzando, refers to the model of an oberek (bars 40–48).

Thus three dance characters comprised the music of the F sharp minor Mazurka. The first of them dominates the whole of this lyrical-dance miniature. Zdzisław Jachimecki heard in this work ‘a rhythmically capricious and melodically refined folk tune’.

No sooner was it published than the F sharp minor became one of Chopin’s best loved mazurkas. A couple of years later, it aroused the keen interest of a famous Spanish singer who was also a pupil of Chopin’s – Pauline Viardot. She came up with the idea of putting words to a few of his mazurkas – the F sharp minor being the first of them – and adding a couple of fioriture, so they could be sung. The texts were written by one Louis Pomey, a third-rate poet completely unknown today. The result was a peculiar hotchpotch, and the work was transferred from the realm of intimate and pure instrumental lyricism to the domain of showy vocal virtuosity. But Chopin heard it and did not protest, and Mrs Viardot’s mazurkas (six in all) caused a furore. Marceli Antoni Szulc noted that this ‘yearningly and achingly dreamy mazurka’, performed by Viardot at the Teatr Narodowy in Warsaw, triggered quite incredible enthusiasm among the audience.

In recent times, the F sharp minor Mazurka experienced another adventure. It was handed a symbolic function as part of a contemporary orchestral work. In Kazimierz Przybylski’s A Varsovie, presented at the Warsaw Autumn during the period of martial law in Poland, the music of Chopin’s Mazurka represented values that were particularly precious, albeit rather helpless. It stood up against the dissonances and fortissimi of the orchestra. But it was the Mazurka which ‘emerged intact’

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


The Real Chopin »

Ewa Pobłocka

Mazurka in F sharp minor, Op. 6 No. 1
Gallery »