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Cover
Frederic Chopin

Janina Fialkowska

Complete Mazurkas

€ 28.95
Add to cart
  • Type CD
  • Label Atma Classique
  • UPC 0722056268226
  • Catalog number ACD 22682
  • Release date 29 August 14

About the album

Unlike his close contemporaries Schumann and Liszt, Chopin was not prone to putting his innermost
thoughts and emotions on display for general public consumption; doing so was aesthetically alien
to his nature. Not for him were the conflicts of Florestan and Eusebius, so eloquently portrayed in the
troubled Schumann’s compositions, or the Faustian dilemma ever-present in Liszt’s outpourings. No, Chopin
kept his feelings close to his heart and most definitely not on his sleeve.
He was only reluctantly a participant in the Romantic Era, but in spite of his personal reticence, the feelings
of this tragic genius eventually found their way into his compositions, and nowhere more so than in his
mazurkas.

Chopin composed mazurkas throughout his lifetime, starting in his teens with the delightfully quirky, youthful
Mazurka in B flat (published posthumously), and ending with his very last composition, the Mazurka in
F minor Op. 68, No. 4, with its mysterious, unearthly chromaticisms, its echoes of a Poland lost in time, and
its mood of deathly exhaustion.To follow the Chopin mazurkas from 1825 until 1848 is to read Chopin’s life story in music. The gifted, much-loved son and pupil who adored spending his holidays in the Mazowsze region of Poland listening to folk music and collecting as many examples of ‘the real thing’ as possible. The teenager who loved practical
jokes, acting, and playing the piano. The young virtuoso, excited by his early travels and new
experiences. And after 1831, the exile, the elegant Parisian, the man about town, the burning nationalist,
the happy early years with George Sand, the gradual deterioration of his health, the suffering and misery,
depression and cynicism, the repressed passion and the weariness, the deep love and devotion to his
friends—all of this always accompanied by his greatest attributes: integrity, honesty, loyalty, elegance, wit,
and his love of all things Polish.

All of this we find in our journey through the mazurkas, for they reveal the essence of Chopin. In these
compositions we find him at his most original and daring, and in them he ranges over the widest possible
spectrum of emotion and pianistic color. Chopin did not invent the mazurka. A 16th-century peasant dance originating in the province of Mazowsze in Poland and accompanied usually by the dudy (a bagpipe), the mazurka had a delightfully syncopated rhythm in 3/4 time and could be either sung o  danced. Originally, mazurkas comprised three kinds of folk dance: the fast accented oberek, the elusive kujawiak (the predecessor of what we know as mazurka form), and the mazur, filled with Slavic sentiment and zal— a unique Polish word describing nostalgia verging on despair.

By the early 19th century, the mazurka dance form had spread across Europe, reaching both Paris —
where it was much appreciated by the aristocracy—and England. Chopin, as a boy, would have heard the
original folk tunes during his holidays in the countryside outside of Warsaw, but he would have also been
exposed to the more refined mazurkas heard in the homes of the upper classes and Polish aristocracy.
The “Polishness” of a mazurka comes both from its use of ancient Polish folk and ecclesiastical modes
(most notably the Lydian), and from its characteristic rhythm. This rhythm is rather elusive and instinctual;
accents tend to show up on weak beats; there is, generally, a strong first beat; occasionally, but not necessarily,
there is a hovering on the second beat and, sometimes, a full stop on the third beat ... and so on.
The Chopin mazurka is the crystallized version of all these components. Other composers wrote mazurkas
before and after him, but only Chopin’s reach the level of masterpieces, composed not to be sung or danced,
but just savored by the listener. They are, of course, imbued with nationalistic flavor; Schumann’s celebrated
description of them as ‘cannons under flowers’ correctly noted their potential political power.

The great French composer Hector Berlioz, after hearing his friend Chopin play some of his mazurkas
wrote the following:
“There are unbelievable details in his mazurkas and he has found how to render them doubly interesting
by playing them with the utmost degree of softness, piano in the extreme, the hammers merely brushing the
strings, so much so that one is tempted to go close to the instrument and put one’s ear to it as if to a concert
of sylphs or elves”
I would, if pressed, probably divide the mazurkas into three groups: those Chopin wrote early in his life, in
Poland and during his very first years in Paris, up until the start of his liaison with George Sand in 1838. These
mazurkas are at times youthful, exuberant (Op. 7, Nos. 1, 4 , and 5); reminiscent of their earthy folk roots
and the sound of the dudy (Op. 6, Nos. 2 and 4); enigmatic, elusive, and already with hints of amazing harmonic
progressions (Op. 17, Nos. 3 and 4); wildly innovative (Op 24, No. 4); heroic and nationalistic (Op. 17,
No. 1); and nearly all already infected with the sweet melancholy of zal and containing unforgettable melodies.
From Op. 30 to Op. 50 we have some of the most popular mazurkas. They have progressed from creative
little originals into full-fledged masterpieces. Already Op. 30, Nos. 1 and 4 have a haunting beauty that is
irresistible; Op. 33, No. 4 is rightly one of the most beloved for its pure, evocative melody in B minor; and
in Op. 41, Nos. 1 and 2 we are faced with drama and passion—they are subtly displayed, but we are nevertheless
acutely aware of their presence, lurking beneath the noble exteriors.

In 1842, thanks to George Sand’s excellent care, Chopin achieved a level of stability and happiness which
had eluded him since his early childhood. This sunny period lasted until 1847 and during this time Chopin
wrote his greatest mazurkas. They transcend sheer works of genius and enter the realms of the sublime; as
well, they are extremely harmonically innovative. Of particular note are Op. 50, No. 1, Op. 56, Nos. 1 and 3,
and all of Op. 59. After his break with George Sand in 1847, Chopin’s health deteriorated rapidly. He fell into a deep depression, and his dreadful shortage of money forced him to embark on the concert tour of England and Scotland
which hastened his demise in 1849. During those last years he composed only a few short works, including
his last work in 1848, the Mazurka in F minor Op. 68, No. 4. He died shortly thereafter, leaving us with a
legacy of 55 mazurkas—55 opportunities to experience exquisite moments in paradise.

  • 1
    1
    Mazurka No. 1 in F-sharp minor | en fa dièse mineur | Op. 6, No. 1
    Composer: Chopin, Frederic
     
    02:45
  • 1
    2
    Mazurka No. 2 in C-sharp minor | en do dièse mineur | Op. 6, No. 2
    Composer: Chopin, Frederic
     
    02:48
  • 1
    3
    Mazurka No. 3 in E major | en mi majeur | Op. 6, No. 3
    Composer: Chopin, Frederic
     
    01:57
  • 1
    4
    Mazurka No. 4 in E-flat minor | en mi bémol mineur | Op. 6, No. 4
    Composer: Chopin, Frederic
     
    00:43
  • 1
    5
    Mazurka No. 5 in B-flat major | en si bémol majeur | Op. 7, No. 1
    Composer: Chopin, Frederic
     
    02:25
  • 1
    6
    Mazurka No. 6 in A minor | en la mineur | Op. 7, No. 2
    Composer: Chopin, Frederic
     
    03:49
  • 1
    7
    Mazurka No. 7 in F minor | en fa mineur | Op. 7, No. 3
    Composer: Chopin, Frederic
     
    03:01
  • 1
    8
    Mazurka No. 8 in A-flat major | en la bémol majeur | Op. 7, No. 4
    Composer: Chopin, Frederic
     
    01:11
  • 1
    9
    Mazurka No. 9 in C major | en do majeur | Op. 7, No. 5
    Composer: Chopin, Frederic
     
    00:37
  • 1
    10
    Mazurka No. 10 in B-flat major | en si bémol majeur | Op. 17, No. 1
    Composer: Chopin, Frederic
     
    02:33
  • 1
    11
    Mazurka No. 11 in E minor | en mi mineur | Op. 17, No. 2
    Composer: Chopin, Frederic
     
    02:03
  • 1
    12
    Mazurka No. 12 in A-flat major | en la bémol majeur | Op. 17, No. 3
    Composer: Chopin, Frederic
     
    04:48
  • 1
    13
    Mazurka No. 13 in A minor | en la mineur | Op. 17, No. 4
    Composer: Chopin, Frederic
     
    04:51
  • 1
    14
    Mazurka No. 14 in G minor | en sol mineur | Op. 24, No. 1
    Composer: Chopin, Frederic
     
    02:57
  • 1
    15
    Mazurka No. 15 in C major | en do majeur | Op. 24, No. 2
    Composer: Chopin, Frederic
     
    02:20
  • 1
    16
    Mazurka No. 16 in A-flat major | en la bémol majeur | Op. 24, No. 3
    Composer: Chopin, Frederic
     
    02:31
  • 1
    17
    Mazurka No. 17 in B-flat minor | en si bémol mineur | Op. 24, No. 4
    Composer: Chopin, Frederic
     
    04:42
  • 1
    18
    Mazurka No. 18 in C minor | en do mineur | Op. 30, No. 1
    Composer: Chopin, Frederic
     
    01:47
  • 1
    19
    Mazurka No. 19 in B minor | en si mineur | Op. 30, No. 2
    Composer: Chopin, Frederic
     
    01:36
  • 1
    20
    Mazurka No. 20 in D-flat major | en ré bémol majeur | Op. 30, No. 3
    Composer: Chopin, Frederic
     
    03:05
  • 1
    21
    Mazurka No. 21 in C-sharp minor | en do dièse mineur | Op. 30, No. 4
    Composer: Chopin, Frederic
     
    04:17
  • 1
    22
    Mazurka No. 22 in G sharp minor | en sol dièse mineur | Op. 33, No. 1
    Composer: Chopin, Frederic
     
    01:48
  • 1
    23
    Mazurka No. 23 in D major | en ré majeur | Op. 33, No. 2
    Composer: Chopin, Frederic
     
    02:37
  • 1
    24
    Mazurka No. 24 in C major | en do majeur | Op. 33, No. 3
    Composer: Chopin, Frederic
     
    02:20
  • 1
    25
    Mazurka No. 25 in B minor | en si mineur | Op. 33, No. 4
    Composer: Chopin, Frederic
     
    05:48
  • 1
    26
    Mazurka No. 26 in C-sharp Minor | en do dièse mineur | Op. 41, No. 1
    Composer: Chopin, Frederic
     
    03:26
  • 1
    27
    Mazurka No. 27 in E minor | en mi mineur | Op. 41, No. 2
    Composer: Chopin, Frederic
     
    02:32
  • 1
    28
    Mazurka No. 28 in B major | en si majeur | Op. 41, No. 3
    Composer: Chopin, Frederic
     
    01:16
  • 1
    29
    Mazurka No. 29 in A-flat major | en la bémol majeur | Op. 41, No. 4
    Composer: Chopin, Frederic
     
    02:00
  • 2
    1
    Mazurka No. 30 in G major | en sol majeur | Op. 50, No. 1
    Composer: Chopin, Frederic
     
    02:42
  • 2
    2
    Mazurka No. 31 in A-flat major | en la bémol majeur | Op. 50, No. 2
    Composer: Chopin, Frederic
     
    03:38
  • 2
    3
    Mazurka No. 32 in C-sharp minor | en do dièse mineur | Op. 50, No. 3
    Composer: Chopin, Frederic
     
    05:24
  • 2
    4
    Mazurka No. 33 in B major | en si majeur | Op. 56, No. 1
    Composer: Chopin, Frederic
     
    04:33
  • 2
    5
    Mazurka No. 34 in C major | en do majeur | Op. 56, No. 2
    Composer: Chopin, Frederic
     
    01:35
  • 2
    6
    Mazurka No. 35 in C minor | en do mineur | Op. 56, No. 3
    Composer: Chopin, Frederic
     
    06:32
  • 2
    7
    Mazurka No. 36 in A minor | en la mineur | Op. 59, No. 1
    Composer: Chopin, Frederic
     
    04:05
  • 2
    8
    Mazurka No. 37 in A-flat major | en la bémol majeur | Op. 59, No. 2
    Composer: Chopin, Frederic
     
    02:44
  • 2
    9
    Mazurka No. 38 in F-sharp minor | en fa dièse mineur | Op. 59, No. 3
    Composer: Chopin, Frederic
     
    03:37
  • 2
    10
    Mazurka No. 39 in B major | en si majeur | Op. 63, No. 1
    Composer: Chopin, Frederic
     
    02:27
  • 2
    11
    Mazurka No. 40 in F minor | en fa mineur | Op. 63, No. 2
    Composer: Chopin, Frederic
     
    01:57
  • 2
    12
    Mazurka No. 41 in C-sharp minor | en do dièse mineur | Op. 63, No. 3
    Composer: Chopin, Frederic
     
    02:15
  • 2
    13
    Mazurka in A minor | en la mineur | “A Emile Gaillard”
    Composer: Chopin, Frederic
     
    02:26
  • 2
    14
    Mazurka in A minor | en la mineur | “Notre Temps”
    Composer: Chopin, Frederic
     
    03:43
  • 2
    15
    Mazurka in B-flat major | en si bémol majeur | Op. Posth., WN 7
    Composer: Chopin, Frederic
     
    01:57
  • 2
    16
    Mazurka in G major | en sol majeur | Op. Posth., WN 8
    Composer: Chopin, Frederic
     
    01:34
  • 2
    17
    Mazurka in A minor | en la mineur | Op. Posth., 68, No. 2, WN 14
    Composer: Chopin, Frederic
     
    03:00
  • 2
    18
    Mazurka in C major | en do majeur | Op. Posth., 68 No. 1, WN 24
    Composer: Chopin, Frederic
     
    01:35
  • 2
    19
    Mazurka in F major | en fa majeur | Op. Posth., 68 No. 3, WN 25
    Composer: Chopin, Frederic
     
    01:51
  • 2
    20
    Mazurka in G major | en sol majeur | Op. Posth., 67 No. 1, WN 26
    Composer: Chopin, Frederic
     
    01:11
  • 2
    21
    Mazurka in B-flat major | en si bémol majeur | Op. Posth., WN 41
    Composer: Chopin, Frederic
     
    01:13
  • 2
    22
    Mazurka in A-flat major | en la bémol majeur | Op. Posth., WN 45
    Composer: Chopin, Frederic
     
    01:24
  • 2
    23
    Mazurka in C major | en do majeur | Op. Posth., 67, No. 3, WN 48
    Composer: Chopin, Frederic
     
    01:36
  • 2
    24
    Mazurka in A minor | en la mineur | Op. Posth., 67 No. 4, WN 60
    Composer: Chopin, Frederic
     
    03:14
  • 2
    25
    Mazurka in G minor | en sol mineur | Op. Posth., 67 No. 2, WN 64
    Composer: Chopin, Frederic
     
    02:10
  • 2
    26
    Mazurka in F minor | en fa mineur | Op. Posth., 68 No. 4, WN 65
    Composer: Chopin, Frederic
     
    03:27

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