COMPOSITIONS compositions

Mazurka in A minor, incypit

Genre: Mazurka

Key: A minor

Opus/WN: Op. 59 No. 1

Creation date: 1845

Acc. to Paderewski: X/36

Acc. to Turło: 86

Instruments: piano


The Mazurka in A minor, the first of the three opus 59 Mazurkas, starts with a bold opening theme; though initially understated and timid, sounding like a voice from afar, it gradually rouses itself and surges up. Its closing phase, falling down a tone, resembles an echo and returns into silence.

That opening theme subsequently returns, acting like an anchor, a fixed point of reference, albeit invariably altered somewhat. And between its recurrences, we hear music that appears to be derived (or spun out) from it, though differing in tone and character. It gives the impression of wanting to break free from the bonds that delimit its actions. The new theme, resounding in the parallel key (A major) and betraying a distinctly mazur spirit (not kujawiak, like the previous theme), does so more boldly, with considerable vigour.

But the dam only bursts with the following theme, full of chromaticisms, dissonant sonorities and angular rhythms, marked by ferment and wilfulness. And then the mystery of the conclusion is played out; that is, the coda, or perhaps rather the epilogue, in which Chopin’s masterful control of emotions, and of the art of condensing them into the space of a dozen bars or so, reaches its pinnacle. Once again, we have fragments of themes and echoes of motives, we have tumult and quietude, cries and nostalgic questions unanswered.

The Mazurka in A minor has been inscribed by monographers on the list of miniature masterpieces. Zdzisław Jachimecki admired its ‘fresh ideas’ and ‘supreme refinement of means’. Ludwik Bronarski found – at certain points – ‘the most beautiful sounds that it is possible to produce from the piano’.

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


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