Tablet - Portrait

Tablet - Landscape


Frédéric Chopin

While this is listed as No. 53 in Chopin's catalog of mazurkas, it was actually his second surviving one, the higher number having been assigned posthumously. An earlier D major effort dates to around 1820, when the composer was a mere ten years old. There were probably other juvenile mazurkas in the approximately five years separating the two works, for Chopin had shown a consistent, lifelong interest in this dance form and devoted more piano compositions to it than to any other genre.

Not surprisingly, this mazurka does not sound like mature Chopin, having a sprightly Mozartian Classical spirit. That said, it is still recognizable as Chopin: it begins with a rhythmic figure that suggests the opening of the "Minute" Waltz, and its clever thematic turns bear a characteristic stamp of elegance. The main theme is busy and joyful, jaunty and light, but is restricted to a relatively narrow range of the upper keyboard, thus inhibiting its vocabulary of color. And if the harmonies are a bit freer than usual, they still lack the distinction found in the composer's later works. Still, because the piece lasts barely more than a minute, its energy and bright mood more than compensate for any undeveloped aspects.