COMPOSITIONS compositions

Polonaise in G minor incypit

Genre: Polonaise

Key: G minor

Creation date: 1817

Acc. to Paderewski: VIII/11

Acc. to Turło: 161

Instruments: piano

Composition dedicated to:

Wiktoria Skarbek


In 1817, probably just after the Polonaise in B flat major (although some say just before), a twin work was written: the Polonaise in G minor. One may surmise that it was Fryderyk’s father who took care to have the work published. It was printed by Revd Józef Cybulski, vicar of the parish of the Virgin Mary in the Nowe Miasto district of Warsaw, who was also Elsner’s publisher. On the cover, the Wunderkind’s age was specified (wrongly, as it happens), as well as the name of the person to whom the Polonaise in G minor was dedicated: Lady Wiktoria Skarbek.

This Polonaise features a four-bar fanfare lead-in, slightly different to that in the B flat major Polonaise. That is followed by the main dance, in two parts, and a trio (in B flat major). And here we have an echo of repertoire that Chopin had heard elsewhere, with such popular devices as the switching of part of a subject into the bass, combined with an impressive crossing of the hands. Nevertheless, we are left in amazement at this work by a child composer.

After care was taken to have the little Fryderyk’s Polonaise published, it was also extended to a review, which appeared in the Pamiętnik Warszawski in January 1818. Warsaw learned that ‘the composer of this Polish dance, a young lad of eight [actually still seven], is the son of Mikołaj Chopin, a teacher of French language and literature at the Warsaw Lyceum, a true musical genius. Not only does he play the most difficult pieces on the piano with the utmost facility and good taste, but he is also the composer of several dances and sets of variations, which the connoisseurs cannot admire enough, given the composer’s young age’. The review ends with a sentence that reveals one of the Polish complexes: ‘Had the young lad been born in Germany or France, he would surely have attracted the attention of all social milieux. May this mention serve as an indication that geniuses also arise on our soil; it is just that the lack of broad publicity conceals them from the public.’

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


The Real Chopin »

Marek Drewnowski

Polonaise in G minor
Gallery »