COMPOSITIONS compositions

Mazurka in C minor, Op. 56 No. 3 incypit

Genre: Mazurka

Key: C minor

Opus/WN: Op. 56 No. 3

Creation date: 1843

Acc. to Paderewski: X/35

Acc. to Turło: 85

Instruments: piano

Composition dedicated to:

Catherine Maberly


The third of the opus 56 Mazurkas, as was the case in previous sets, has the character and shape of a dance poem. It is in the key of C minor and sounds quite nostalgic. It forms something like a mosaic of themes, but here all the themes seem to grow organically from one another. The opening bars show not so much a theme as its conception – sketched with a fine contour in polyphonic technique.

The principal theme of this Mazurka is not heard in its full form and sound until much later, as if it were only now being discovered or allowed to express itself. Thereafter, it appears every now and then in a different guise, while placed between its variants are episodes shaped from motives of captivating simplicity, like the one that seems to be recalled from afar. There are also moments that strike one with their harmonic ‘peculiarity’ and contrapuntal artistry, such as the passage that leads into the finale. Though in fact it is difficult to speak here of a finale. The Mazurka in C minor comes to a standstill, perhaps anticipating a gesture of ultimate closure, which does not come.

The Mazurka in C minor moved and astonished its later interpreters. Ferdynand Hoesick heard in it ‘rather the music of memories than of reality’. Zdzisław Jachimecki saw in its tonal boldness ‘the foundations for the music of future times’.

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


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