COMPOSITIONS compositions


An autumnal mood sounds in the Waltz in A minor, one of the three that make up opus 34. ‘What a contrast’, remarked Iwaszkiewicz, ‘Sorrow and murky forlornness’.

This Waltz has a quite unusual character, and it has even been called ‘melancholic’. Together with the Waltz in C sharp minor from opus 64, it represents that variety of the genre which, as the valse triste or valse lente, would become popular during the second half of the century with Tchaikovsky and Sibelius. That melancholy song lends the work its underlying tone. It acts like an anchor – a point of departure and support. The proper theme of the dance is heard in a curiously timid melody, initially interrupted, then proceeding as if resignedly. Its complement brings a moment of almost folkloric liveliness. Also in the A minor Waltz, the greatest surprise and delight await us at the centre of this work, where we encounter a melody of remarkable piano songfulness, played sostenuto, and so as if dragging its heels, in the cheery key of A major. Subsequently, however, the same melody changes mode, dynamics and timbre, falling into the dejected and darkened key of A minor.

Chopin enjoyed playing the A minor Waltz. Frederick Niecks wrote down an amusing anecdote associated with this work, told to him by Stephen Heller. When Heller met Chopin on the street one day, he told him that this was his favourite of all Chopin’s waltzes, and the gladdened composer invited his Hungarian colleague to lunch at the Café Riche.

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


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Waltz in A minor, Op. 34 No. 2 Op. 34 No. 2
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