COMPOSITIONS compositions

Mazurka in B minor, Op. 30 No. 2 incypit

Genre: Mazurka

Key: B minor

Opus/WN: Op. 30 No. 2

Creation date: 1835-1837

Acc. to Paderewski: X/19

Acc. to Turło: 69

Instruments: piano

Composition dedicated to:

Maria Czartoryska-Wirtemberska


The second of the Op. 30 Mazurkas, in B minor, like the first, is of a miniature character, lasting barely more than a minute. Yet its colouring is different, peculiar to music that combines a minor key with a moderate tempo. Its shape is also unusual. The opening theme, based on a play of dynamics, alternating between piano and forte, sounds only once. In its wake, a curiously breathless motif comes to the fore, repeated insistently, on ever higher degrees of the scale.

Interestingly, it is with this music, in F sharp minor, not B minor, that Chopin ends this Mazurka, leaving it as ‘open form’. Before that, however, a miniature episode is played out. This is also quite characteristic and shows Chopin’s sense of humour: an identical phrase is repeated eight times, only with differently harmonised accompaniment. The phrase invariably concludes with the same interval of a major third.

It is hardly surprising that some listeners were put in mind of the voice of a cuckoo – a bit of musical fun that had been used many times before, from Couperin and Daquin to Haydn and Beethoven.

The poet Kornel Ujejski, who wrote what he called ‘translations’ of Chopin, lent the B minor Mazurka a sentimental anecdote. The cuckoo tells a girl when she will wed: ‘Ile więc razy kukułeczka kuknie,/To za wiosen tyle wezmę ślubną suknię’ [So however many times the little cuckoo sings,/You’ll don your wedding dress in that many springs].

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


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Mazurka in B minor, Op. 30 No. 2 Op. 30 No. 2
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