Tablet - Portrait

Tablet - Landscape


Frédéric Chopin

Of the 51 numbered mazurkas -- and over 60 altogether, counting early and "orphaned" efforts -- the four comprising Op. 6 stand as strong early mazurkas that established this genre's pattern of wide-ranging modes of expression and a seemingly ever-expanding view of the color possibilities on the keyboard. True, these four are generally light and do not quite plumb the depths encountered in the A minor Sixth or A flat major Twelfth, to mention just two other early efforts. Still, they are worthwhile pieces, and this F sharp minor First is probably the strongest entry in the group.

Certainly it offers variety in moving from its elegant yet melancholy main theme to the jolting alternating material, which seems bent on sabotaging the somber character of the piece, but only temporarily succeeds in doing so. The work carries no textual tempo instruction but bears the metronomic marking of a quarter note equals 132. It is a lively piece then, but one whose mood is rooted in darker realms. In the end, this must be assessed as one of the composer's finer early mazurkas. A typical performance of it lasts about three-and-a-half minutes.