Frédéric Chopin

Mazurkas (4) for piano, Op. 68, CT. 96-99

    Description by Kristen Grimshaw

    It is universally agreed that the piano pieces of Frédéric Chopin changed the way the piano was played, not in the technical sense, as in the pieces of Liszt, but in the expressive quality required by the pianist. The shorter works allowed Chopin to experiment with and to expand his compositional abilities, creating a truly distinct musical style. Perhaps the most unusual and individual of the shorter piano pieces is the mazurka, which reflects the merging of Chopin's classical training in Paris and his patriotism for his native Poland. While retaining the flavor and rhythm of the traditional Polish dances, the mazurkas also reflect the sophisticated melodic nuances and the coloristic harmonies found in Chopin's other compositional genres. The brief, intimate postcards from his homeland are perhaps some of Chopin's greatest contributions to the piano repertoire.

    The mazurka collection of Opus 68, published posthumously, evokes a very nationalistic flavor throughout. The first mazurka contrasts outbursts of bold, patriotic chordal passages with lyrical, winding, melodic passages. The rhythmic energy drives the piece ahead, and the contrasting middle section, waltz-like in character, demonstrates the expansion of range and melody of Chopin's later works. The second piece of the set, marked Lento, is warm and unhurried. Its introspective and reminiscent flavor is contrasted by a more homophonic, chordal section with a rhythmically stable pulse. The mazurka is highly ornamented and rhythmically interesting. The third piece in the collection evokes a nationalistic feel, with its chordal texture interrupted by a brief, winding, ascending melodic figure. The contrast between the two is that of a military fanfare and a rustic dance. The final mazurka is a lyrical and expressive reflection, harmonically rich and full of melancholy.

    Parts/Movements

    1. No. 46 in C major
    2. No. 47 in A minor
    3. No. 48 in F major
    4. No. 49 in F minor

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2014 LP Classics 1021A/B
    2014 ATMA Classique ACD 22682
    2013 Broken Audio BRAU 0942
    2013 Warner Classics
    2012 Intergroove 001
    2012 Avie AVR 2262
    2011 RCA Red Seal 886919369120
    2011 Newton Classics 8802076
    2011 Newton Classics 8802038
    2011 Steinway & Sons 30003
    2010 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099945533
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon / DG Deutsche Grammophon 002894778445
    2010 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099996711
    2010 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099945535
    2010 Decca 4782282
    2010 Hyperion 55392
    2010 Naïve 30494
    2010 Danacord 690
    2009 Sony BMG / Sony Classical 88697577072
    2009 Dux Records 650
    2009 X5 Music Group 15582
    2008 Bridge 9276
    2008 Altara Classic 1030
    2008 EMI Classics 5754432
    2008 Brilliant Classics 93217
    2008 Hyperion 44351
    2007 Centaur Records 2098/2099
    2004 EMI Classics 85767
    2003 Aura Classics 0251
    2003 Dorian 93258
    2002 Naïve 20002
    2002 Classica d'Oro 3030
    2001 Rca Red Seal 63027
    2001 Rca Red Seal 63006
    2000 Centaur Records 2707
    2000 Arkadia 78590
    1999 DG Deutsche Grammophon 463 047-2GCE17
    1999 DG Deutsche Grammophon 463 054-2
    1999 Naxos 501501
    1999 Opus 111 2007
    1999 RCA Red Seal 63000
    1997 Sony Music Distribution 63237
    1997 London 443738
    1996 Concord 42036
    1996 Decca / London 448 086-2DF2
    1996 London 448086
    1995 London
    1994 Philips 442 574-2PM2
    1993 EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics 0777764933
    1993 Naxos 8505015
    1991 Naxos 550359
    1991 RCA Victor GD60822
    Opus 111 30287
    Finnadar 91071
    DUX 649
    EMI Music Distribution 74457
    EMI Music Distribution 74457
    ARK 59001
    The Piano Library 242
    Arabesque 6730
    London 417584
    RCA Victor 60822
    Connoisseur Society 4182