Author Topic: Chopin's mazurkas  (Read 58309 times)

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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Chopin's mazurkas
« Reply #160 on: May 24, 2021, 12:16:25 PM »
Unfortunately, listening every mazurka one after the other bores me a lot I must admit ...


In fact I can listen to a lot of mazurkas, I can’t explain why, and I remember how surprised I was that they engaged me so much when it happened for the first time (in my car, listening to the first Rubinstein recording!)

 I can’t listen to much more than one nocturne at a time though.
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Offline Florestan

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Re: Chopin's mazurkas
« Reply #161 on: May 25, 2021, 05:31:10 AM »
I can listen to nothing but Chopin all day long...  :D
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Offline mabuse

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Re: Chopin's mazurkas
« Reply #162 on: May 25, 2021, 10:19:16 AM »
I can listen to nothing but Chopin all day long...  :D

But how many mazurkas or nocturnes in a row, Florestan?

I love Chopin but, personally, after 10 minutes listening to the mazurkas I start to lose patience ... I find it more pleasant to alternate with other pieces.

Offline Florestan

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Re: Chopin's mazurkas
« Reply #163 on: May 25, 2021, 10:29:40 AM »
But how many mazurkas or nocturnes in a row, Florestan?

All of them and then some. No kidding.
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Offline Brian

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Re: Chopin's mazurkas
« Reply #164 on: May 25, 2021, 10:37:33 AM »
I can do 20 minutes or so of nocturnes in a stretch, only 1-2 polonaises or waltzes at a time, the full cycle of preludes easily, but I can absolutely listen to 15-20 mazurkas in a row. A full single CD of them is no problem for me. I think the mazurkas are his best, most interesting, and most varied genre, in general, and they offer the performer the most liberty (although some performers of course use this liberty to go far astray).

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Chopin's mazurkas
« Reply #165 on: June 16, 2021, 11:43:04 PM »


It’s been around for more than six years but I’ve only just found it. Well recorded. Nils Henrik Asheim uses a square  piano from the 1830s by Collard & Collard, it sounds nice. He makes dances for the soul, not for the feet. I found it cloyed after 10 minutes and I took refuge in Olejniczak, but that’s not just a reflection of the performances.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2021, 11:46:11 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Chopin's mazurkas
« Reply #166 on: October 24, 2021, 09:31:15 AM »



I think this is worth hearing, his way of articulating the music gives each piece large, bold, noble gestures. I like the weightiness and seriousness of his approach very much, extrovert without being unreflective; personal and expressive without being self indulgent. Nice enough modern piano rather well recorded.

His notes on each mazurka may or may not have some insights. You'll see he waxes particularly lyrical about op 50/3 and he delivers a particularly magnificent performance of this mazurka to boot.

Quote from: Radoslav Kvapil /translation: Jill Nizard: Prague, September 2018
Mazurka in C sharp minor, Op.6, No.2. Composed in Vienna in 1830. This Mazurka is written in ABA form. Section B expresses the greatest simplicity, similar to the simplicity to be found in the Polish national folk songs.

Mazurka in E major, Op.6, No.3. (Vienna 1830) At times, this Mazurka is written similarly to dance music, without the possibility of dancing to it. It is full of exuberance and a continually joyful mood, full of irregular accents. This is something typical of Polish folk dance music. Bars 41 to 48 provide proof that this music is not written to be danced!

 Mazurka in B flat major, Op.7, No.1. (Vienna 1830-31) Very simple music, maestoso until bars 45 to 53 where it then becomes slightly mysterious.

 Mazurka in A minor, Op.7, No.2. (Vienna 1830-31) This Mazurka is very lyrical at the beginning and then becomes dramatic. In bars 42-46, it is more maestoso, before becoming lyrical once again.

Mazurka in F minor, Op.7, No.3. (Vienna 1830-31) This starts with an introduction expressing a mysterious atmosphere during the first eight bars. Then, between bars 41-54, a new mood takes place, which is a very typical dance mood.

Mazurka in C major, Op.7, No.5. (Vienna 1830-31) This is more of a sketch than an actual mazurka, because it has no ending and the music is marked senza fine in the score. This is the reason I joined this Op.7 No.5 to the C major Mazurka, Op.56 No. 2:

Mazurka in C major, Opus 56, No.2. (Paris 1843) This is a very energetic folk dance, but in bars 37-50, it becomes lyrical and poetical, totally unlike the idea of a dance, and continues so between bars 53-78. (Dvorak also composed a Mazurka in C major, Op.56, No.2, which has similar character to Chopin's Mazurka Op.56/2).

 Mazurka in A minor, Op. 17, No.4. (Paris 1832-3) This one is very slow and it uses notes formed by irregular groups of ornamentation, following a similar method using ornaments to be found in many of his works, notably in his Piano Concerto No.2 in the second movement.


Mazurka in C major, Op.24, No.2. (Paris 1834-35) This starts as an improvisation, which announces a very dazzling melody. Bars 21 and 30, demonstrate the way Chopin improvises. Here, he repeats the same melody four times with ingenious small changes. At the end of the Mazurka, he returns to the opening improvisation.

Mazurka in D flat major, Op.30, No.3. (Paris 1836-37) This could be music pathetique like Beethoven's or Liszt's music, but Chopin, with his use of brutal dynamic changes, where he jumps regularly from fortissimo to pianissimo, creates a totally different character.

Mazurka in C sharp minor, Op.30, No.4. (Paris 1836-37) I consider this to be one of Chopin's finest Mazurkas. After four bars of introduction, which correspond to a slightly mysterious opening, the Mazurka continues as an energetic dance. Chopin then destroys the regular form ABA, because in bars 65-96, he suddenly adds a new idea, in which he expresses his great love of the Polish Nation. We then later find the same idea of the love of one's Nation, in the middle section of the Polka in F major in Smetana's Czech Dances. After bar 133, comes quite an extraordinary ending, in which the three bars 137-140 resemble Schumann's Vogel als Prophet (Bird as a Prophet) from his Waldescenen, Op.82.

Mazurka in G sharp minor, Op.33, No.1. (Paris 1837-38) This is one of Chopin's saddest works. In bars 16 to 36, he is trying to escape from his feeling of despair, but this is in vain, and his hopelessness returns.

Mazurka in B minor, Op.33, No.4. (Paris 1837-38) With its 224 bars, this is perhaps Chopin's longest Mazurka. All the main ideas in bars 1-24, 49-64 and 129-175 are brilliant and highly inspired; however, in my opinion, permanent repetition of these ideas destroys the appropriate balance of the work. It would therefore appear that bars 176-192 should have been edited out of a final revision. Chopin would have needed to come back to the main theme in bar 193. But we can rarely find in any of his other works such examples of an inelegant solution as here, with so many bars of music without inspiration.

Mazurka in B major, Op.41, No.3. (Paris 1839) This Mazurka has not the special character of a mazurka. In the first four bars, it starts as a dance, but the whole work expresses brilliant music, more greatly resembling that of a prelude.

Mazurka in C sharp minor, Op.50, No.3. Composed in Paris in 1841-2. This Mazurka is the finest and also the most magnificent. Beginning in polyphonic form, it is similar to a principle to be found in a canon, and it does not resemble a dance. The rhythm of the  Mazurka comes about in bar 17, but not for a long time. Between bars 25 and 32, a dialogue takes place between two independent voices, until bar 33. Then from bars 33-40, there is a reminder of the beginning of the Mazurka. Section B, between bars 41 and 93, leads to a very simple mazurka. Section A returns in bars 94 to133. Then Section C commences, which corresponds to a large coda. Between bars 145 and 172, Chopin proceeds with a considerable amount of work as a composer, in which he goes to great depth by using chromaticisms, which increase the expression very considerably . Everything is aiming to reach the summit of the work in bars 173-179, which he then attains. In making comparisons to this Mazurka, it is interesting to see how Bedrich Smetana, in his work Poetic Polkas Op.8 No.2, adopts the main ideas of this Mazurka, even if his music is totally different. His poetic beginning is not like a dance. Then an energetic dance, in this case, a polka, takes place from bar 10, but not for long, and a dialogue then happens between two independent voices. Then there is a reminder of the first nine bars of the beginning. Such a similarity between these two works leads one to ask oneself if Smetana already knew Chopin's Mazurka Op.50 No.3 when he composed his work Poetic Polkas Op.8 No.2, or whether he composed it in such a way unconsciously.

Mazurka in A flat major, Op.59, No.2. Composed in 1845 in Paris. Beginning in piano dolce, it is presented in forte grandioso in bars 23 to 43. Section B (bars 45 to 68) is not dance-like. The mood increases in expression, aiming to return to the main theme from bar 69. Between bars 82-88, Chopin resorts to improvisation, in which the fingers glide along the keyboard in that usual manner. The real coda starts in bar 89. Then, between bars 108 and 109, a new, fairly rapid improvisation takes place once again.

Mazurka in F minor, Op.63, No.2. Composed in 1846 in Paris. This was one of Chopin's last Mazurkas, which he both composed and published himself. It evokes great simplicity and yet also a deep feeling of sadness.

Mazurka in C sharp minor, Op.63, No.3. Composed in Paris in Autumn 1846. This is one of the last Mazurkas Chopin to be composed and also published. It presents an indecisive atmosphere, in which Chopin is searching for a solution, which he continues to search in a repeat, and which, he is, once again, unable to find, once again ending indecisively. After bar 33 and until bar 46, he is permanently changing the mood, searching for new solutions, which he appears to have then found. However, immediately afterwards, he returns once again to Section A, looking for yet another solution, which he appears to have found in bar 64, where he then leaves
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this indecisive mood by resorting to somewhat complicated polyphony, enabling hin to find a final solution in bars 77 and 78.

Mazurka in G minor, Op.67, No.2. Chopin composed this work in 1849, in Paris.

Mazurka in A minor, Op.67, No.4. Chopin composed this Mazurka in 1846, in Paris.

Mazurka in C major, Op.68, No.1. Chopin composed this Mazurka in 1829, in Warsaw. These three above were all published posthumously by Julius Fontana in Paris, in 1855.

Mazurka in A minor, Op.68, No.2. Chopin composed this Mazurka in 1827 in Warsaw. It was later also published as a posthumous work by Julius Fontana in Paris, in 1855. This well-known Mazurka is what is commonly known as the Rossignol. The wide popularity of this work is derived from the great poetry it expresses.

Mazurka in F major, Op.68, No.3. Chopin composed this Mazurka in 1829 in Warsaw. It was published as a posthumous work by Julius Fontana in Paris in 1855. This Mazurka however belongs to Chopin's early works. Here the Mazurka has a slightly festive character and it has a possible characteristic which can typically be found in a Polonaise. Its middle section is poco piu vivo, and bars 33-44 provide a very different mood from the one in the other parts. The same sparkling character also appears both in Op.7 No.1 and in Op.6 No.2, enabling Chopin to create both a new dimension and a new mood.

Mazurka in F minor, Op.68, No.4. Chopin composed this Mazurka in Paris in 1849. It was later also published posthumously by Julius Fontana in Paris, in 1855. This is the final Mazurka Chopin composed before his death in October 1849. This one is deeply poetical. By adding the words ad infinitum to the end of this composition, Chopin expresses his farewell to life. Only some of Schubert's final Lieder are able similarly to describe the precise moment at which human life is about to end. Mazurka in B flat major, which Chopin composed in Warsaw in 1825, might have been his first ever mazurka. It was published in Warsaw in 1826.




Back to this. Why not? Certainly a special recording and my comment 2.5 years ago about seriousness and lightness seems pretty perceptive, though I say so myself. Sounds good too.

However - there’s a health warning. There is absolutely no sense of the dance, despite the pic on the cover. That being said, here comes another health warning - I have no idea what a mazurka dance looks and feels like!
« Last Edit: October 24, 2021, 09:36:51 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline Todd

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Re: Chopin's mazurkas
« Reply #167 on: October 24, 2021, 11:32:30 AM »
...although some performers of course use this liberty to go far astray


And bless those who do.
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Offline George

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Re: Chopin's mazurkas
« Reply #168 on: October 27, 2021, 04:57:37 PM »
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Chopin's mazurkas
« Reply #169 on: November 01, 2021, 10:38:25 PM »


Worth hearing, this one, I think, for the piano of course, an 1853 Pleyel very nicely restored, but also for the rhythms - which in Tatiana Larionova’s hands seem complicated and natural at the same time. I like it, I hope she does a release with the rest.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2021, 01:09:32 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline hvbias

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Re: Chopin's mazurkas
« Reply #170 on: November 14, 2021, 11:47:42 AM »


Worth hearing, this one, I think, for the piano of course, an 1853 Pleyel very nicely restored, but also for the rhythms - which in Tatiana Larionova’s hands seem complicated and natural at the same time. I like it, I hope she does a release with the rest.

Have you ever heard Russell Sherman play the Mazurkas? I think you would find it very unique. Listened to half of disc 1 (Op. 30, 33, 41) in with some of Feldman's first SQ and it was  a nice accidental pairing. Sherman plays the Mazurkas like Nocturnes, he downplays dynamic markings. Of course many other more madening things about them, but I can say I won't mind them in small doses.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2021, 11:49:32 AM by hvbias »

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Chopin's mazurkas
« Reply #171 on: November 14, 2021, 09:08:46 PM »
Have you ever heard Russell Sherman play the Mazurkas? I think you would find it very unique. Listened to half of disc 1 (Op. 30, 33, 41) in with some of Feldman's first SQ and it was  a nice accidental pairing. Sherman plays the Mazurkas like Nocturnes, he downplays dynamic markings. Of course many other more madening things about them, but I can say I won't mind them in small doses.

Yes when it first came out and I took against it, maybe unfairly. I’ll try again
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Offline hvbias

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Re: Chopin's mazurkas
« Reply #172 on: November 15, 2021, 03:43:18 PM »
Yes when it first came out and I took against it, maybe unfairly. I’ll try again

He has really good liner notes as well; shockingly lucid for Sherman ;D I'll write out some of these later in the week, some of his insights are spot on. As usual he seems to consider the music quite deeply even if what ends up on disc offends people.