COMPOSITIONS compositions

Mazurka in C major, Op. 24 No. 2 incypit

Genre: Mazurka

Key: C major

Opus/WN: Op. 24 No. 2

Creation date: 1833-1836 (1834-1835?)

Acc. to Paderewski: X/15

Acc. to Turło: 65

Instruments: piano


The second of the Op. 24 Mazurkas, in C major, is essentially a kind of folkloric cliché. A folk provenance can be found in all its themes: in the opening theme, which brings the gestures and movements of an oberek; in its complement, inviting us to dance and click our heels; and also in the theme that is coloured with the so-called Lydian fourth. An echo of rustic music-making can also be heard distinctly in the central part of the work, transferred to a flat key and adhering to the rhythms of a foot-tapping mazur.

Here, as in the first mazurka from opus 24, the folk elements are a point of reference, although undoubtedly more distinctive than in the previous piece. Chopin’s imitable style is manifest in this miniature in both the overall design and the peerless epilogue; the sounds of the tuning of basses, repeated from the lead-in, pass into music that seems to move away from us, to grow fainter, ever closer to silence; finally, those moments when one kind of music passes into another, as if unnoticed, in contemplation, led by a changeable, modulating harmonic pulse.

Hoesick heard in the C major Mazurka a realistic impression of a ‘dance in a tavern’, with ‘rural musicians belting it out’, and ‘young swains clicking their heels as they dance with the lasses’. Zdzisław Jachimecki even attempted to assign the roles in the dance; first the girl, then the man. Yet this rustic atmosphere of dancing in taverns appears in Chopin’s music merely as remembrance, or as in a dream, when one image passes into another, before dispersing in a haze of sound that fades and falls silent.

This is another mazurka that tempted Pauline Viardot to produce a vocal transcription. Louis Pomey’s text, which has nothing in common with folklore, mazurkas or Chopin’s music, speaks of a young girl, but the transcription itself is quite charming.

Another peculiar resonance arose a long time after Chopin’s work was composed. When playing the mazurkas of Karol Szymanowski, Op. 50, one discerns an echo of Chopin’s Mazurka in the very first piece of the set. Of course, with Szymanowski this echo resounds in a different tonal sphere and in the context of a different epoch, but the rhythmic pattern that lends his work its shape and the kind of dance gestures lead back towards Chopin.

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


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Mazurka in C major, Op. 24 No. 2 Op. 24 No. 2
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