COMPOSITIONS compositions

Mazurka in C sharp minor, incypit

Genre: Mazurka

Key: C-sharp minor

Opus/WN: Op. 41 No. 4

Creation date: 1838-1839

Acc. to Paderewski: X/29

Acc. to Turło: 79

Instruments: piano

Composition dedicated to:

Stefan Witwicki


The four Mazurkas, Op. 41, beginning with the Mazurka in E minor, composed during the winter on Majorca, and ending with the Mazurka in C sharp minor, composed during the first summer at Nohant, were published by Chopin in 1840 and dedicated to Stefan Witwicki. In the Paris edition, the set ends with the C sharp minor Mazurka, which in the Leipzig edition (and editions based upon it) comes first.

It is among the most beautiful mazurkas, resembling a miniature dance poem. It seems to arise out of nothing, and ends the same way. Stephen Heller noted: ‘What with others was a refined embellishment, with him was a colourful bloom; what with others was technical fluency, with him resembled the flight of a swallow’. Well, it is just such a ‘swallow’s flight’ that opens the C sharp minor Mazurka. Only in the subsequent bars does the melody gain the requisite accompaniment, before sounding in a bright key and unfolding towards its plenitude. But it is only the new, complementary theme that allows the piano to really dance and sing.

In what follows, the listener is led through a succession of new acoustic landscapes. Here is a softened, perhaps intimate, theme, but that also soon gains height and strength and swings like a kujawiak. Right after that comes a theme that resounds with the rhythms and intonations of a mazur, then a moment of reflection, so typical of Chopin when he is about to return to the opening theme. At the end, that which in the mazurka (as a dance poem) had to occur: the climax, which brings a veritable relishing of the mazur sound and rhythm. The epilogue brings the music back to the silence whence it issued forth.

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


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Mazurka in C sharp minor, Op. 41 No. 4
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