Frédéric Chopin

Mazurka for piano in A flat major, KK IVb/4, CT. 104 (B. 85)

    Description by Robert Cummings

    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.

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2014 ATMA Classique ACD 22682
    2014 GPR Records GPR 10014
    2011 Newton Classics 8802076
    2011 Steinway & Sons 30003
    2010 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099996711
    2010 Hungaroton / Hungaroton Classics 3247172
    2010 Decca 4782282
    2010 Decca
    2010 Hyperion 55392
    2010 Fryderyk Chopin Institute 17
    2009 Sony BMG / Sony Classical 88697577072
    2009 Deutsche Grammophon / DG Deutsche Grammophon / Universal Music Classics and Jazz 001382602
    2008 Brilliant Classics 93217
    2008 Hyperion 44351
    2008 Sony Classical Essential Classics 731846
    2005 DG Deutsche Grammophon 000460002
    2004 EMI Classics 85767
    2003 Harmonia Mundi 2907352/53
    2003 Forlane 126817
    2003 Dorian 93258
    2002 CBC Records 1045
    2000 Harmonia Mundi 907247/48
    1999 DG Deutsche Grammophon 463 047-2GCE17
    1999 DG Deutsche Grammophon 463 054-2
    1999 Naxos 501501
    1997 London 443738
    1996 Decca / London 448 086-2DF2
    1996 London 448086
    1995 London
    1992 Naxos 550367
    Forlane 16789
    Arabesque 6730
    Zephyr 14010