The is some question about the date of this waltz, but it most likely came from 1843, though some have suggested it may have been written as late as 1848. Chopin was particularly remiss in not obtaining publication for over half his waltzes during his lifetime, this one included. He may have written it as a present for Mme. Charlotte de Rothschild or her daughter. In any event, the manuscript of the work ended up in the possession of the Rothschild family, who eventually donated it to the Paris Conservatoire.
The main theme in this A minor waltz is rather simple, as is a related second idea, and both are domineering throughout the piece, allowing virtually no other significant thematic elaboration during the nearly two-minute duration. It is an oddly obsessive piece, hinting at both sadness and joy, at intimacy and detachment, all the while seeming a prisoner within a fantasy sound world. The music is beguiling, to be sure, but also unsettling in its repetitions and unyielding dark mood. In the end, one might assess that this piece is simple to listen to, but difficult to fully grasp.