Frédéric Chopin

Polonaise for piano No. 5 in F sharp minor, Op. 44, CT. 154

    Description by James Reel

    Despite its title, this is a composite work, with a mazurka embedded in the middle of the polonaise. (A polonaise is usually a dance in triple meter and moderate tempo, with the accent seeming to fall on the first beat thanks to its typical rhythmic pattern: an eighth note followed by two sixteenth notes, then four more eighths. A triple-meter mazurka, in Chopin's hands, tends to sound less belligerent and more graceful, with the accents shifting to the second or third beats.) The piece is dedicated to Princess Ludmilla de Beauveau, a prominent member of the Polish émigré community in Paris.

    A short, menacing opening passage announces one of Chopin's most disturbing creations, a bold theme, defiant and rather sinister, with hammering chords and growling trills. It's answered, between statements, by a series of less aggressive melodic bits, sometimes apparently trying to soothe the main matter's fury, sometimes rising passionately across the keyboard. A second section takes this same material and strips it down to a savage bass ostinato with melodic fragments fluttering above. Suddenly the mood changes as the mazurka section begins. This is delicate music of moonlight and romance, its initial tinkly nature calling the courtly eighteenth century to mind. But soon the music slips into more ominous harmonies, two isolated torrents of notes dismiss the tender mazurka section, and the violent polonaise material from the beginning rumbles back in. At length, this reprise loses its force and seems about to fade into oblivion, but Chopin dismisses the work with one final angry gesture, a fortissimo chord of octaves.

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2016 Erato 0190295974961
    2016 Alpha ALPHA 224
    2016 La Dolce Volta LDV 25
    2016 Warner Classics 557388
    2016 Fryderyk Chopin Institute / Nardowy Instytut Fryderyka Chopina NIFCCD 617
    2016 DG Deutsche Grammophon 4795404
    2016 CD Accord ACD 219
    2016 Piano Classics PCLM 0104
    2015 Arbiter ARB 163
    2015 DG Deutsche Grammophon 4794350
    2015 Sony Classical 88875050462
    2015 RCA Red Seal / Sony Classical 88875127202
    2015 Sony Classical 88843054582
    2015 Delphian DCD 34159
    2014 Piano 21 P 2147
    2014 Decca 4785334
    2014 Decca
    2013 Maguelone MAG 111191
    2013 Fondamenta FON 1005008
    2013 Broken Audio BRAU 0992
    2013 Fryderyk Chopin Institute NIFCCD 700
    2013 DG Deutsche Grammophon
    2013 DG Deutsche Grammophon B001888302
    2013 CD Accord ACD 190
    2013 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099901924
    2012 Dux Records DUX 0833
    2012 Fryderyk Chopin Institute NIFCCD 206
    2012 Entertainment Group 4004
    2012 DG Deutsche Grammophon 4779529
    2012 DG Deutsche Grammophon
    2011 RCA Red Seal 886919369120
    2011 DG Deutsche Grammophon
    2011 DG Deutsche Grammophon 4779908
    2011 Fryderyk Chopin Institute NIFCCD 613
    2011 Newton Classics 8802076
    2011 BR Klassik / Tudor Records 7157
    2011 Disc Makers 1019115
    2011 Virgin Classics 5099902931623
    2011 Fryderyk Chopin Institute NIFCCD604605
    2011 Royal Philharmonic Masterworks RPM 28980
    2011 Red Bus Classical RCLAS 012
    2011 Dux Records 0791
    2011 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099908216229
    2011 Fryderyk Chopin Institute NIFCCD000020
    2010 Melodiya MELCD 1001684
    2010 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099945533
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon / DG Deutsche Grammophon 002894778445
    2010 DG Deutsche Grammophon
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