COMPOSITIONS compositions

Mazurka in B flat major [Op. posth.] incypit

Genre: Mazurka

Key: B-flat major

Opus/WN: [op. posth.]

Creation date: 1832

Acc. to Paderewski: X/56

Acc. to Turło: 103

Instruments: piano

Composition dedicated to:

Aleksandra Wołowska


The manuscript of the Mazurka in B flat major bears the date 24 June 1832 and belongs to the series of four mazurkas which Chopin offered to young Polish ladies during his early years in Paris. He did not assign any of them to be published, treating them as output of a strictly private, social character. The B flat major Mazurka was presented in Paris to Miss Aleksandryna Wołowska, shortly to become the wife of Leon Faucher, the French minister for internal affairs; the young lady took lessons from Chopin for a while. The manuscript Chopin gave her was only rediscovered in 1909. It appeared unexpectedly, but not inexplicably, in Cracow, in the collection of the famous art patron Feliks Manghi–Jasieński.

And the Mazurka itself? It brings a cliché of rustic music, transposed to the realm of piano texture and idealistically sublimated. What we have before us seems to be nothing more than a sketched impression of that music, set down with a couple of flicks of the pen.

Chopin inflected the complement to the main theme with a Lydian fourth. The trio in E flat major evokes the atmosphere of shepherd’s pipes. As a whole, the B flat major Mazurka displays admirable succinctness and charming simplicity. So why did Chopin not want it published? Did it seem too inconsequential? Too strongly rooted in established convention? Its harmonies not sufficiently nuanced? Unfortunately, we do not know.

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


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