COMPOSITIONS compositions

Polonaise in A flat major incypit

Genre: Polonaise

Key: A-flat major

Opus/WN: [op. posth.]

Creation date: 1821

Acc. to Paderewski: VIII/13

Acc. to Turło: 162

Instruments: piano

Composition dedicated to:

Wojciech Żywny


The year 1821 brought the first evidence of Chopin’s fascination with the style brillant. On Wojciech Żywny’s name day, the thirteen-year-old Fryderyk gave his piano teacher a new polonaise, composed in the key of A flat major. And how different this work is from his two previous polonaises. Here, there is none of that naive childish simplicity. As Jachimecki notes, the Polonaise in A flat major is ‘a salon piece, very well-proportioned, elegant in tone, light, and in its youthful charm [this is where Jachimecki errs] already truly Chopin’. The A flat major Polonaise is actually closer to the polonaises of Weber and the rondos of Hummel than to any of those Chopin polonaises which the composer deemed worthy of publication. But this work is certainly well-turned and light, fluent and rippling, and indicative of the future master.

The Polonaise in A flat major is the first Chopin work familiar to us from the composer’s own manuscript. It was written out not just meticulously, but also with stylish calligraphy; after all, it was a name-day present for his teacher. As for the technique, we already see an almost assured touch in the development of initial ideas through sequences and in their varying through ornamentation and figuration. The young Chopin also clearly enjoys casting motives into the bass for the hands to cross, which he even does with a degree of nonchalance.

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


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Polonaise in A flat major [op. posth.]
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