COMPOSITIONS compositions

Mazurka in C major, Op. 56 No. 2 incypit

Genre: Mazurka

Key: C major

Opus/WN: Op. 56 No. 2

Creation date: 1843

Acc. to Paderewski: X/34

Acc. to Turło: 84

Instruments: piano

Composition dedicated to:

Catherine Maberly


The Mazurka in C major, the second of the Op. 56 set, strikes one from the very first bars with its local, rustic character. Ferdynand Hoesick described it as follows: ‘The basses bellow, the strings go hell for leather, the lads dance with the lasses and they all but wreck the inn’.

There is certainly both coarseness and boisterousness in this music. Yet the folk element is summoned forth here primarily in the actual sound: through those repeated fifths and the melody employing intonations that are particularly characteristic of the music of the Cuiavia region (the dual form of the interval of a fourth appearing within a single melodic phrase). And in this Mazurka, the sections appear to have been placed together in order to wonder at one another. The middle section is filled with two kinds of kujawiak. In the first, a simple melody cast into the bass seems to sound with a male voice. In the second, subtly embellished, one hears a ‘female’ voice. And the two melodies complement each other perfectly. In their immediate wake, Chopin introduces a scalar melody, given in the form of a canon, which functions here almost like a ‘foreign body’. But that is, of course, merely a first impression. Its real function is to allow the closing return of the rhythms of the initial mazurka to sound like deliverance.

The Mazurka in C major was the favourite mazurka of Princess Marcelina Czartoryska, who apparently played it in a very Chopin-like way.

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


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Mazurka in C major, Op. 56 No. 2 Op. 56 No. 2
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